Six people with albinism in Malawi are to contest the country’s next presidential and parliamentary elections.
The candidates are to be sponsored by an association of people with albinism as it fights stigma associated with the condition.
The Guardian quotes a director of the association as saying that “We want to show the public that we are more than our skin.
Threats facing albinos
Albinos living in Malawi face danger daily with significant number of them killed for ritual purposes.
It has made Malawi the most dangerous country in the world for people living with albinism.
Albinos lack pigmentation in their skin, hair and eyes and some believe their body parts can be used for magic and money rituals.
Efforts to fight stigma
Telling people about the normality of the albino condition is difficult to convince. In some instances having people with the condition occupying public offices changes perceptions.
Overstone Kondowe who is director of the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi told The Guardian that fielding political candidates can change how people view albinos in Malawi.
One of the candidates defying the odds to run for parliament, Elizabeth Machinjiri says “What I have seen is that disability issues are ignored in the country.”
“In our parliament there are only one or two people that have a disability. I understand one will not even [stand in] the next election. We need to be represented. Other people may not understand the pain and hard things that we go through every day” she told The Guardian.
Albinism is a global issue
The stigma Albinos face globally is huge but more prevalent in parts of Africa. There has been a rise in the number of albinos killed for ritual and witchcraft.
Tanzania and Burundi are also high on the list of most dangerous countries for albinos. The UN has created a special mandate to protect such persons with genetic disorder.