June 15, 2024
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By Anneline Mathiba

When Ngom Maseline Anwi (32), a civil society activist  based in Bamenda, in the north-west region of Cameroon founded her Association for the Welfare of Albinism (AWA) in 2016, she had no idea that it would lead to her winning the Golden Excellence Award by the Dream Networks Foundation .

The award recognises and awards organisations in the West African country that benefit the community.

Anwi’s award – “for the best albinism welfare association” – came in the form of a trophy and certificate as anencouragement for AWA to continue its work of protecting the rights of people with albinism.

Fah Elvis (41) who is one of the event organisers from the Dream Networks Foundation said he was impressed by how AWA operated and did their work of fighting for the rights of people with albinism. “AWA was nominated for this award based on the great work that they have been doing as far as protecting the rights of people with albinism. We have been able to carry out some groundwork investigating the objectives and implementations of the activities of AWA. Our investigative team found them fit for the award which is more of an encouragement for AWA to keep doing the great work defending the rights of people with albinism,” he told ThisAbility.

AWA fights for the rights of people with albinism by engaging government agencies that involve human rights as well as providing skincare products, teaching life skills to people with albinism for them to make a living and feed their families. These activities are all carried out in an area where there is war.

Anwi, who is a qualified nurse, says, “The first reason I decided to go with this initiative was from my experience in school in Yaoundé (the capital city of Cameroon). I saw the need for persons with albinism to be regarded as human beings in a society. I used to see how people with albinism were isolated and mocked by teachers, because of how they could not see on the board.

“In Cameroon persons with albinism are not seen as valuablemembers of society. For example, no one would dare take a wife with albinism, so nobody needs to pay a bride price for a person with albinism,” says Anwi.

One of the members of AWA, Becky Maly (28) who has a 10-year-old with albinism, told ThisAbility that she learned to care for her child’s skin from AWA. “I heard about AWA from one of its  members and I decided to join and then I learned a lot from them.”

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