In many parts of Africa, people with albinism are often discriminated against or even attacked for ritual purposes. Growing up seeing a childhood friend with albinism suffering from this stigma, touched and motivated, 24-year-old Zambian lady, Memory Tapela Banda, to establish, an organisation that assist and stands for people with albanisim.
‘I grew up in a community that discriminated against people with albinism, and I remember a childhood friend who faced this wrath. Many people would urge my mother to discourage me from playing with my friend who had albinism, saying I will end up giving birth to an albino child. Fortunately, my mother didn’t tolerate any of that,’ narrated Banda.
This stigmatisation, segregation and the man challenges people with albinism face saw Banda establishing, Zambian Albinism Matters Organization (ZAMO)that helps all the people with albinism.
‘Besides the issues of discrimination, people born with albinism have special needs like special creams that protects their skin.
‘Our organization assists in sourcing the skin creams from donors, then we distribute them to all our province’s where we have our representatives and volunteers,’ said Banda.
Banda’s organization also run counseling and awareness programs to the community, they do outreach to pregnant women at clinics and teach them about albinism.
‘We equip people with knowledge about albinism and that it is not a death sentence and that they are like anyone else and that they are just like anyone else.
‘We also raise awareness about other healthy challenges they are prone to like cancer and eyesight challenges,’ bemoaned Banda.
Just like any other African NGO organization in Africa her organization has not been spared by challenges.
‘We are appealing for support, as it stands now our organization have transport challenges for distribution of creams and outreach programs to remote areas, and let alone an office to operate from,’ she appealed.
Banda is also the current country representative Director of Social gender protection at the African Union for persons with albinism, an Ashoka fellowship alumnus, an award-winning Humanitarian and Advocate for children world peace and human rights in Zambia.