The Association for People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) is among many organisations, government departments and agencies that have not submitted requests for their tranches of funds from the K250 million which government reportedly released to finance the National Action Plan (NAP) on protection of people with albinism in the country.
Some of the persons with albinism who attended the event Massa making a statement: Still standing strong Aqueel Masinga sings a song during the news conference
Chief Disability Awareness and Equalization Officer in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Jullian Priscilla Mabangwe disclosed this in the Capital Lilongwe on the sidelines of APAM's news conference to announce activities marking International Albinism Awareness Day which falls on 13 June every year.
The action plan was formulated to consolidate efforts of relevant stakeholders in ending abductions and killings of people with albinism in Malawi.
Mabangwe's revelations come amidst APAM's umpteenth calls upon government to live up on its promise to release money for the implementation of the action plan.
"Treasury has made available the money. We realize the urgent need for APAM to access these funds so that they start implementing their activities in the action plan. However, they need to submit a formal request, attach their plans and all relevant documents as the release of government money requires due processes that must be followed. We are engaging them on this matter," she said.
According to Mabangwe, only Malawi Human Rights Commission and Malawi Police Service received their money and began implementing their activities in the action plan.
However, in reaction to Mabangwe's sentiments, APAM Board Chairperson Grace Massa insisted that they have always made a request for their money.
"We have been requesting for our money and this is what we are saying now," she said.
The lives of the 134, 000 people with albinism in Malawi remain in danger as they continue being discriminated, stigmatized, attacked and killed in barbaric acts fueled by myths and ritual beliefs.
Turning to the International Albinism Awareness Day, Massa said it was set aside to celebrate the lives and achievements of people with albinism.
In Malawi, commemoration of the day will be held on 27 June in Chiradzulu District under the theme; Still Standing Strong.
During the news conference in Lilongwe, Massa and APAM Deputy General Secretary Ian Simbota took turns in calling for the inclusion of people with albinism in various sectors of life.
"Embrace us as human beings just like anyone else. We call upon authorities and all Malawians to stand in solidarity with us as our country fights off this spate of abductions and killings of people with albinism," said Massa.
Simbota chipped in, "I look forward to the time when Malawi would have people with albinism given senior government posts including being appointed as cabinet ministers and elected as Members of Parliament. Try us, most of us are qualified just like anyone else".
Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) in Malawi says it is ready work closely with government, other development partners and civil society to implement the National Action Plan for persons with albinism.
UN resident coordinator Maria Jose Torres said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times that UN stands strong in solidarity with persons with albinism in Malawi and around the world.
She says: "We look forward to seeing the written commitment in the plan become a reality in a manner that will bring about positive, concrete and lasting change in the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism in Malawi - beginning with the most fundamental rights: to life, and to security of a person."