Deliberately silenced voices!

June 14, 2018

By Marinke van Riet

13 June 2018 is a globally recognized international day that amplifies voices of persons with albinism. I attach the importance of this day to the fact that a group of capable, resourceful and equal people can direct the attention of the world to their cause and in so doing remind everyone that stigma and discrimination are not the ingredients needed for societal cohesion. This particular day invests emphasis on inclusion and as an organization Centre for Environment Law and Governance (CELG) continues to work with the Tanzania Albinism Society (TAS)towards a society that ensures children with albinism can have access to better education.

There have been reduced incidents of brutality towards people with albinism compared to a few years ago. However, on other fronts there is still a lot more to do; for instance the reduction in incidents of cruelty is not matched with court prosecutions of perpetrators. In addition not sufficient efforts are being directed towards providing people with albinism with the conducive environment that would effectively support their educational and employment needs. Furthermore, it is positive to note that awareness efforts are becoming more widespread.

The collective actions of the government and civil society organisations can bring about the necessary changes to legislation and policy frameworks. These efforts will increase awareness and in the process promote inclusiveness and reduce the existing atmosphere of resentment resulting from negative perceptions of albinism.

A person with albinism is no less a person than any other because they share the same aspirations and dreams with everyone else and that is humanity. They are just as deserving as anyone else and will benefit a great deal from being understood to be equal and capable. We need to work much harder to overhaul perceptions.

CELG has partnered with TAS under the funding of Voice to highlight access to quality and inclusive education to young people with albinism. In the process CELG continues to learn more about albinism and collaborates with TAS to produce publications, engage media and participate in national and international days set aside to highlight issues related to people with albinism. All these involvements are intended to maximize awareness.

I urge every man, woman, child and relevant authority to take it upon themselves to prioritize inclusiveness with regard to people with albinism. Work closely with them, take the initiative to understand them and help build a more accommodating society.

About CELG

CELG is a is a non-governmental organization working to promote a well governed society whose rights are respected and protected. Funded by Voice, the organisation seeks to empower the voices that have been deliberately silenced, facing abuse and exploitation.

About Voice

This is a new innovative grant facility for the most marginalised and discriminated people in ten low and lower-middle income countries: Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Indonesia, Philippines, Laos and Cambodia. It aims to amplify and connect thus far unheard voices in efforts to leave no one behind.

Voice is managed and executed jointly by Oxfam Novib and Hivos.