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Decent shelter for people with albinism

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By Steve Chirombo:

GRATEFUL —Alfred (right) shakes hands with Kachikho

March 3 2017 will be remembered as a bad day for the people of Kanchewere, Sub-Traditional Authority (STA) Masache, in Chikwawa District.

Two brothers with albinism, Alfred and Yohane Misoya, were attacked by unknown assailants who were baying for their bones and flesh, to the shock of the village.

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Of course, news that persons with albinism were being attacked in different parts of the country had reached them but they did not suspect that some ill-minded people had planned to attack the two.

Alfred, 24, recounts that, in the wee hours of that fateful day, unknown thugs broke into their house carrying pangas and knives ready to slice them into pieces.

“Memories of the incident haunt us. My brother and I were fast asleep when four men broke into our house in the early hours of that day. We were sleeping in different rooms then when men, wielding pangas and knives, stormed into our rooms and hacked us.

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“We shouted for help, and our neighbours rushed to our rescue,” Alfred recollects.

When the thugs noticed that people were rushing to the scene, they escaped the wrath of the rescuers and disappeared into thin air.

“Our lives have not been the same since the incident happened. We feel like we are no longer living in a free world.

“However, we thank the police and the community who have been providing protection from the time we were discharged from Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital where we were admitted to,” Alfred’s brother, Yohane, recounts.

Yohane bemoans that the house they were living in made it easier for the thugs to attack them. He says that the house was poorly constructed.

“If we lived in a well-constructed house, the situation could have been different. Imagine, the house had no door protectors which would have, at least, saved us from the attack,” Yohane says.

Alfred concurs with his brother, saying most people with albinism in the country have gone through such experiences because of lack of proper care and protection.

He argues that housing with well protected doors, windows, well-reinforced walls and, possibly, a fence, would save them from attack.

Interestingly, Alfred, a Form Four student at Migoti Community Day Secondary School, aspires to become a lawyer and contribute to the fight for rights of persons with albinism in the country.

Soon after the attack in March 2017, President Peter Mutharika directed that two houses be constructed for the two brothers to ensure they have proper care and protection.

The houses were constructed through government’s Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme (Dahsp) under the grant component.

Through the programme, the government spent close to K8 million for the construction of the two houses each with two bedrooms, a kitchen, a toilet and a bathroom.

On October 28 2018, Alfred and Yohane realised their dream of living in a decent house when then Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Anna Kachikho handed over the two houses to the two brothers.

Smiling faces could be seen not only on the two brothers but also people in Group Village Headman Nankumba’s area who came to witness the handover ceremony.

HAILED MUTHARIKA— Masache

STA Masache was visibly happy and thanked Mutharika for directing construction of the houses.

“It is quite pleasing that today we are receiving the two houses for the two brothers which will enhance their security. These two houses have brought joy not only to the beneficiaries but the entire community,” Masache said.

He hailed the police and communities for working together to enhance security of people with albinism.

Chikwawa District has 54 registered persons with albinism.

Alfred and Yohane could not hide their excitement as they walked with their shoulders high side by side with Kachikho with scores of other community members behind them to receive keys for their decent houses.

“These houses will surely safeguard our lives and property. We are grateful to the president for such a wonderful giflt,” Alfred said.

He called on other stakeholders to join those ensuring persons with albinism are living fine lives.

“I wish the houses had solar power to light up the place in case thugs come again to attack us in the middle of the night when we go outside, probably, to answer nature’s call. Again, if a fence was constructed around the houses, it would be complete protection for us,” he said.

Alfred added: “All in all, we are pleased and grateful for this development and we now feel very safe. President Mutharika has greatly safeguarded our lives.”

On her part, Kachikho said the two young men had received a lifetime gift from the government.

“Government is ensuring that vulnerable groups are not left out within the Dahsp. Consideration goes to the poor, the elderly, people with disabilities and children; that is what we are seeing today,” Kachikho said.

“But government cannot do this alone. There is need for other players to come in with support for the vulnerable groups to enjoy their rights and have access to basic necessities,” she added.— Mana

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