Woman kept hidden for 22 years because of albinism

A 34-year-old woman with albinism says she was kept hidden for 22 years from society due attacks from community members on her family because of her genetic condition.

Claudia Mwira together with her father NdumbaMwira revealed this during a public hearing on discrimination and other challenges faced by persons with albinism held here on Thursday.

Ombudsman John Walters and his team conducted the public hearing.

The public hearing is held for Persons with Albinism (PWA) to share the challenges faced by them, their experiences regarding discrimination, exclusion, access to health care or lack thereof amongst others.

The findings of the public hearings together with desk research will inform a report with recommendations to be submitted to the relevant ministries for implementation, Walters told Nampa on the side-lines of the event.

Mwira (woman) said since her birth in 1984 at Mazana in the Kavango East Region she would only be kept in the room as people were filled with fear and run away from her because of her skin colour.

People stayed away from our house and avoided visiting my family because of the albino baby in the house, Mwira narrated.

Her father she said tried sending her to school but even the teachers would be scared of her thus she only attended school for a year due to treatment there.

Mwira said the only time she started to be part of society was in 2006 when she had to begin treatment for her skin condition.

Walters said Rundu is the fourth town the Office of the Ombudsman identified to hold the hearings before stating they visited Oshakati, Eenhana, and Okongo.

PWA are human beings and should enjoy the same human rights and freedoms enshrined in our Constitution, as well as those guaranteed by international and regional human rights instruments. They are entitled to the same protection which any other Namibian enjoys, the ombudsman said.

His office he added is going to intensify awareness campaigns on discrimination and other challenges faced by persons with albinism.

Source: Namibia Press Agency