Catholic Peace Commission in Malawi Calls for Empowerment of Persons Living with Albinism

Masapi (in white t-shirt) and others following the proceedings of the meeting. Credit: Courtesy photo

Members of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in Malawi have called on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the country to incorporate persons with albinism (PAWs) in economic projects to help them live fulfilling lives.

In a Monday, November 8 news report, the National Governance Programs Coordinator of CCJP in Malawi highlighted challenges that people living with albinism face owing to the fact that they cannot fend for themselves.

Acknowledging that PAWs face numerous attacks owing to their disability, George Chiusiwa said, “Besides, some PAWs cannot afford to purchase skin lotion to protect them from direct sun rays which leads to skin cancer and this calls for the CSOs to mainstream PAWs initiatives in their projects that in turn may improve their livelihoods.”

Mr. Chiusiwa made the remarks during a joint church meeting with CSOs that was held in Malawi’s Zomba Diocese to create awareness among the Zomba-based CSOs on the roles they have in access to justice and development of the PAWs.

At the event, it was noted that the PAWs face “huge economic hardships that at times cost their lives as they are unable to fend for themselves.”


The CCJP official said that due to extreme poverty, “some PAWs use mosquito nets as doors for their homes as they cannot afford to purchase sturdy doors whereas others go with empty stomachs as they have no money to purchase food.”

On his part, Zomba PAWs chairperson, William Masapi, said PAWs have the potential to contribute to food and economic stability.

“That is if and only if we are recognized and empowered,” Mr. Masapi, a secondary school teacher and a farmer, during the meeting.

In his reaction to the challenges, Zomba CSOs treasurer said that the meeting is like an eye opener to the organization and added that the focus will be channeled to PAWs to ensure that their issues are addressed.

“Most of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have the components of persons with disabilities however we will advocate for focusing much on the PAWs to have their issues addressed,” Doskani Kumwenda who works with Youth for Development and Productivity (Yodep) said.

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Last month, CCJP in collaboration with the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) and the Council of Bishops in Scotland (SCIAF) completed a two-year campaign. The initiative sought to address the myriad challenges that people with albinism face in the districts of Zomba and Machinga in Zomba Diocese.

In a 2019 interview with ACI Africa, CCJP Coordinator said that the two-year campaign aimed at raising awareness throughout the country about the rights of people with albinism and their rights.

Boniface Chibwana told ACI Africa that the two-year campaign also sought to “demystify these myths in local communities and completely eradicate this barbaric behavior by changing the minds of the people.”

According to a 2018 Amnesty International (AI) report on albinism in Malawi, the number of reported cases against people with albinism had risen to 148 cases since 2014, including 14 murders and seven attempted murders.

Citing the Malawi Police Service and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the AI report further indicates that “Only 30 percent of the 148 reported cases against people with albinism (had) been concluded” and that at the time, “only one murder and one attempted murder cases (had) been successfully prosecuted.”