Succeeding amidst challenges

While trying to follow the teacher, being a person with albinism, she had to think about her safety. There was not a moment when she did not fear for her life.

This, sadly, is the reality for some people with albinism.

Recently Malawi was rocked with cases of albino abductions and killings a thing which caused fear amongst Malawians especially those with albinism.

Widespread condemnation came from the country’s President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, the albino community itself and the faith community.

Kasungu district, one of the districts famous for its farming activities especially tobacco, also saw some six cases being registered.

This raised some fears among people with albinism in the district.

For one, 18 year-old, Eunice Kankande with albinism and doing her primary school education at Chilanga School for the Blind, the fear was worse. Since she was in standard 8, she had to contend with the pressures of preparing for examinations and fight against the fear of death over her head.

She endured and sat for Primary School Leaving Certificate examinations and luckily got selected to Lilongwe Girls Secondary School.

She prevailed and apparently having albinism in the wake of all the reported atrocities and gruesome killings of people with albinism did little or nothing to deter her from eying her goal with record enthusiasm.

Hailing from Bweya Village, Traditional Authority Wimbe about 35 Kilometers away from the Boma, Eunice now is all smiles.

While she rejoices at the success, her parents feel a heavy load. Eunice’s mother is farmer and her father is local builder who cannot raise enough money for her school fees.

Apart from school fees, Eunice lacks education materials, pocket money and clothes.

Kasungu Police Station established a taskforce and has since come to the rescue of Eunice. It was formed by organisations and individuals to look into issues of security and welfare of people with albinism.

Kasungu Police Station Officer-in-Charge, Ackis Angel Muwanga, said he was proud to be part of the help.

“We were informed that the girl had passed her PSLC examinations, but her parents could not afford her school fees.

“We decided to contribute something as this group was formed to be looking at people with albinism’s security as well as their welfare. That’s why we sourced funds to help,” said Muwanga.

Member of Parliament for Kasungu East was among those who contributed money for Eunice’s fees and other materials.

Kazombo said he believes that girl child education can develop the country and said issues of welfare of people with albinism will always be at his heart.

“If you recall very well, I was one of the people who stood in Parliament and promised to fight and protect people with albinism and I feel one way of fighting for them is to support their education,” said Kazombo.

“One of the responsibilities of those in power is to see that the needy, are not deprived of education due to resources, let us tirelessly fight for them,” he added.

Kasungu District Chairperson for Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM), Taonga Simukonda, hailed the gesture saying what has been done is a manifestation of love towards people with albinism.

“Despite how we are, we also have aspirations and ambitions and it is always good if we achieve our goals. What has been done to this girl only shows that there are people who care about others, more especially us,” he said.

The dream of seeing herself in the corridors of a health facility while shining in a white uniform may just be fulfilled for Eunice as she expressed her gratitude that she is going to a secondary school.

“At the moment I cannot say how glad I am. Thoughts of dropping out of school were always lingering in my mind considering that my parents cannot afford to raise the school fees.

“But now I am happy because I am going to a secondary school and my dream of becoming a nurse is slowly becoming true,” said Eunice.

Eunice will be able to go to secondary school with K45, 000 school fees, 20 notebooks,5 pens,4 tablets of soap and a chitenje dress donated to her by the taskforce, however she may still be in need of more.

Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA