First Lady Monica Chakwera has accepted to be patron for Association of People with Albinism (Apam) to support the welfare of people with albinism in the country.
During an orientation meeting with Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati in July, Apam proposed that the First Lady should take up the position of the association’s patron to help fight for the vulnerable group’s welfare.
A letter to Apam dated August 27 2020, issued by the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, states that the First Lady accepted the role with effect from July 28 2020.
Apam president Ian Simbota in an interview on Tuesday said the positive response from the First Lady indicates her support for matters of people with albinism.
He said Apam expects a bright future with the involvement of Chakwera, adding the association has a number of things that need to be done to improve their welfare.
Said Simbota: “We want the patron to help with resource mobilisation, emergency response, and to ensure people with albinism have equal access to opportunities such as employment and loans to ensure their economic freedom.”
On his part, presidential adviser on disability Overstone Kondowe hailed the First Lady for demonstrating commitment to the welfare of people with albinism, saying it will help promote visibility of the targeted population at national and global levels.
He said: “One of the challenges facing PWAs is lack of visibility, particularly in public spaces. The First Lady’s gesture is, therefore, a positive and timely development which will help increase the global spotlight on the welfare, protection and promotion of rights of persons with albinism.”
In the run-up to the tripartite elections in May last year, the country saw a spike in the number of attacks and killings against people with albinism attacks which the United Nations (UN) said stem from negative mystification of albinism, stigma, poverty and harmful practices.
A UN Resolution on Persons with Albinism, adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly in December 2017, refers to the need to address the root causes of discrimination and violence against persons with albinism through ongoing awareness-raising and an effective justice system to hold perpetrators of the crimes accountable.