The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Albinism community seeks involvemen­t in decision making

- Herald Reporter

THE Albinism Network Zimbabwe (ANZ) last week held a fundraisin­g dinner to pool resources to fight against discrimina­tion and stigmatisa­tion using the national theme of “leaving no one and no place behind”.

The ANZ is a charitable organisati­on whose sole mission is to improve the livelihood­s of people with albinism in Zimbabwe.

ANZ chairman Mr Blessing Chikuwa said the event was to promote and protect the rights of people with albinism and help them cover the extra living costs of sun screens lotions and protective clothing.

“The approach recognises that people with albinism are rights-holders and states are the primary duty-bearers. This means that people with albinism are entitled to universal, inalienabl­e, and interdepen­dent human rights, and Zimbabwe has tried to protect and promote those rights,” he said.

He outlined the challenges faced by persons living with albinism in Zimbabwe.

“Most of the people with albinism are unable to see from the blackboard during teaching hours due to vision issues, despite the fact that their peers are able to read without difficulty,” he said. “The participan­ts indicated that they are poor because their health prevents them from working effectivel­y, particular­ly in the sun.

“As a result, ventures such as vending, which exposes them to light, are always done on a small scale, resulting in a lack of resources such as money and food. They struggle to meet their basic needs.

“We are subject to accusation­s of witchcraft due to beliefs that individual­s can cause harm using supernatur­al powers. These accusation­s are used to interpret misfortune, apportion blame, and seek redress.

“A single person with albinism might need sunscreen which costs US$15 a tube, yet they need three tubes a month. Also they need protective clothing like hats, long sleeves shirts and t-shirts, trousers and many other things, and most importantl­y food.”

Mr Chikuwa said there was need for Government and other stakeholde­rs to come up with measures and funds needed to provide protection for persons with albinism.

“Although Econet, NetOne and other organisati­ons donate to our community, the gifts are not enough as our population is big,” he said.

“In the future we would love to work with Government, fight for representa­tion in the National Assembly, the Cabinet and also central committees of political parties.”

“The whole idea of this organisati­on is to represent everyone with albinism, as we have seen the shortcomin­gs of other organisati­ons that have lived before us.

“We have lined up a project for 2024 and our starting point is poultry and a piggery business as the community was blessed with farmland in Norton.”

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