In Tanzania, people with albinism live in constant fear of being tortured, killed or persecuted. The home to Africa’s biggest mountain has been a breeding ground of hardship and injustice for this vulnerable group over the years. While the government has set up measures to ensure their physical safety; poverty, stigma, discrimination and segregation continue to accelerate dejection, worry and helplessness amongst this community.
Growing up as person with albinism, Shega Mboya had always longed to defy the odds and chart out a new course for people like her. As a young mother with two children, Shega anchored her hope in empowering herself as a woman to the highest level of education and putting on a hat as an activist to advocate for the rights of people with albinism. ‘’After becoming a mother, I realized other than running my home I have to do more especially for persons with albinism in my society, ‘’ she says.
Her journey was not easy, after graduating from Sokoine University in Tanzania with a Master’s degree in Agriculture she struggled to get a job and had to take up part time jobs to make ends meet.
The scourge of attacks and abhorrent discrimination against persons with albinism fueled her resolve to use every forum in Tanzania to create awareness. ‘’I took on this role to share my story and simply state that if people understood my needs differently, then I would have probably overcome my obstacles early enough,’’ she states.
At the Tanzania Albinism Society, she works with community ambassadors to seek audience with religious leaders, politicians, teachers and doctors so as to educate them about challenges affecting persons with albinism and creating common solutions that are crucial in changing attitudes and beliefs.
She notes that the Voice program has given her a platform to amplify her ‘voice’ to articulate issues affecting persons with disability and campaign for change in her country Tanzania.
Her ideal world as she reflects on #BalanceforBetter is one with freedom where persons with albinism (inclusive of women and men) live freely without stigma, discrimination and can fully enjoy their human rights. ‘’I hope to also encourage women like me (with albinism) to stop victimizing themselves and start being an inspiration. Only then will we build a gender-balanced world’’, she adds.