Woman kept hidden for 22 years because of albinism

01 Aug 2019 17:20pm
RUNDU, 01 AUG (NAMPA) – A 34-year-old woman with albinism says she was kept hidden from society for 22 years due to attacks from community members on her family because of her genetic condition.
Claudia Mwira, along with her father, Ndumba Mwira, revealed this during a public hearing on discrimination and other challenges faced by persons with albinism held here on Thursday by the Office of The Ombudsman.
The public hearing is held for Persons with Albinism (PWA) to share the challenges they face, their experiences regarding discrimination, exclusion, and access to healthcare or the lack thereof, amongst others.
Claudia said since her birth in 1984 at Mazana in the Kavango East Region, she was kept hidden in a room as people were filled with fear and ran away from her due to her condition.
“People stayed away from our house and avoided visiting my family because of the albino baby in the house,” she 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.
Claudia said she only became an active member of society in about 2006, when she had to begin treatment for her skin condition.
“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,” Ombudsman, John Walters, told Nampa on the side-lines of the event.
He added that Rundu is the fourth town the Office of the Ombudsman identified to host these hearings, following those in Oshakati, Eenhana, and Okongo.
“People with albinism 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 other Namibians enjoy,” he said.
Walters said his office will intensify awareness campaigns on discrimination and other challenges faced by persons with albinism.