They live their lives in constant fear knowing they could be the next victims. The chase for their body parts has affected their daily functioning, adding more harm to their existing vulnerabilities.
The only sin they committed was to be born without melanin.
Stigma, abductions, and killings of Persons With Albinism (PWAs) have damaging effects on the advancement of PWAs in all sectors.
In Malawi, people with albinism suffer serious violations of their human rights and risk losing their lives in attacks.
Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and DanChurchAid (DCA) with funding from the Danish TV collections are contributing towards alleviating the suffering of PWAs through inclusive programming such as in the Stop Child Marriages (STOM) project among others.
One beneficiary of such programming is Chikondi Chimutha. Chimutha, born with albinism in a family of four children grew up amidst stereotypes because of his skin condition.
“It pains me when they treat me like a scarecrow to silence naughty children,” lamented Chimutha.
Chimutha has just graduated as a tailor from the vocational training programme under the STOM project and has already become the pride of his village in Ntchisi District.
“I like taking my tailoring needs to Chikondi because he does it better and he is within my proximity,” said Chisomo one of Chimutha’s customers.
Chimutha has diversified his income generation and is slowly becoming the village’s tailor and grocery retailer.
“I believe in diversification, if one business gives me little profits, the other one will pull me up,” said he.
Chimutha’s wish is to see most PWAs skilled in trades matching with their levels of vulnerabilities.
“I desire that more persons with my condition attained vocational skills so they can stand on their own,” said Chimutha.
Analysts say abductions and killings of PWAs have reduced since the change of government in 2020 due to political will. Since 2014 Malawi has registered at least 163 cases including 25 murders, according to official figures.
Malawi’s incumbent leader appointed Overstone Kondowe, former President of the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) as Presidential Advisor on Persons with Albinism and Disabilities.
Kondowe appraises the government’s move to have funded the National Action Plan on PWAs to the tune of K300 million, and K400 million towards their housing.
“A positive political will of the new leadership in driving the National Action Plan on PWAs explains the reduction of cases of abductions and killings of PWAs,” said Kondowe.
According to the National Statistics Office’s (NSO) comprehensive report, Malawi has a population of 134,636 people with albinism.