World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day

Today is a day for celebration and a chance to recognise all the good work going on in the world. World Merit wants to recognize and thank all changemakers taking action across the globe to create a more positive future for everyone!
However, we must recognize also that despite all the hard work of change-makers across the globe, we still have a long way to go in achieving our sustainable development goals.
In this article, I would like to highlight a story reported to world merit in February which here at World Merit HQ was a true eye-opener to the realities of discrimination and violence some people suffer daily.

Here is Peter and Lan’s Story…

The World Merit team in Blantyre to raise awareness and take action against the immense maltreatment of Aboriginal people in Malawi. It took a huge amount of courage to highlight this topic, but it certainly had a great impact in bringing the discrimination and targeting of Albinos in Malawi to the attention of the country.

Albinos are people with a rare genetic disorder, which causes the skin, hair, or eyes to have little or no colour. An 
estimated 7,000 to 10,000 people with albinism live in Malawi, according to a recent UN report.
Albinos in Malawi are in danger because of the false belief that their body parts can bring good luck and wealth.  The United Nations warned in 2016 that Malawi's albinos face "extinction" if they continue to be murdered for their body parts.

The United Nations’ top expert on albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, said that body parts could fetch tens of thousands of dollars in the underground trade, which extends to neighbouring Mozambique and Tanzania.

The World Merit team in Blantyre used “World Radio Day” as a platform to reach millions of people and to advocate for the end of these murders. The team, led by Peter Desean Chasanga, contacted “MBC Radio 1” (Malawi Broadcasting Corporation) and explained how the theme for 2019 “World Radio Day” was Dialogue, Tolerance, and Peace and asked if they could be guests on the show.

The radio presenter who hosted Peter was MacAllan Mapinda, a well-known figure and popular radio host in Blantyre, Malawi's centre of finance and commerce. Peter brought a guest, a man named Lan who is an albino and who has been the victim of an attack.

The show began with the news that a fourteen-year-old albino boy had been abducted and was currently missing. The show moved on to discuss how education was key to ending this practice, the country needs to come together to dispel the myths about albino people. Only through a systematic education approach will this harmful practice end.

When asked about World Merit and the SDGs, they discussed how many of the goals relate to the issues facing albinos, for example, they tend to live in poverty because no one will give them employment. Their health and wellbeing are at risk due to misconceptions and myths, and these myths are perpetuated by lack of education and the exclusion of albinos from the education system.
During the program, music was not played since it was a special segment and many people were calling to talk with limited time.  About 8 million people had listened to this program. 500 listeners engaged.

Two days after the radio show, news of Goodson, the 14-year-old boy with Albinism, who had been abducted was found dead along the river.  Body parts were removed including his teeth, eyes and his private parts and his body was skinned.

“Like all forms of discrimination, it will take several generations to achieve. I will not see the war won in my lifetime. The youth and future generations are the best answer to this war”- Lan

The World Merit team contributed to developing Global Citizens by raising awareness on false beliefs around albinism, advocating for the implementation of national laws, and developing guidance and capacity-building tools. The team courageously utilized the medium of radio and the theme of “Dialogue, Tolerance, and Peace” to advocate for the safety of albinos

World Merit HQ would like to share this story to give a huge thank you to the World Merit team in Blantyre who brought this tragic theme to our attention. It is stories like this that empower World Merit to continue the fight for action worldwide towards our social development goals.
We would like to remember the 14-year-old boy mentioned in the article and send our condolences to his family, friends, and community. 


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