Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a significant stride towards empowering individuals with albinism and addressing the grave issue of gender-based violence, the Albinism Royal Foundation (ARF) organized a two-day engagement in Kono with support from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.
Led by Executive Director Pastor Sarah Ngaiwa, the ARF has been unwavering in its dedication to restoring the human rights of individuals with albinism, a community that has long faced marginalization and exclusion.
Ibrahim Yajah, Secretary and Advocacy Officer of the foundation, underscored the commitment to empower the community and address the specific challenges of gender-based violence experienced by women and girls with albinism. Yajah acknowledged that previous governmental efforts had not adequately included this marginalized group, prompting the foundation to take proactive measures.
The engagement aimed to devise effective strategies to combat gender-based violence against women and girls with albinism, recognizing the need for targeted interventions. The foundation’s National Executive Director, Pastor Sarah Ngaiwa, emphasized the significance of the event in tackling persistent issues of exclusion and violence.
Ngaiwa referred to Article One of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which comprehensively defines disability, highlighting the long-term impacts of physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments. This definition, she argued, reinforces the importance of addressing the unique challenges faced by individuals with albinism.
The agenda for the two-day engagement covered crucial topics, including empowering communities to end gender-based violence, promoting disability inclusion in reproductive health programs, and raising awareness about albinism. These discussions aimed not only to address immediate challenges but also to foster a sustainable environment that supports the rights and well-being of individuals with albinism.
The ARF’s initiative, supported by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, reflects Sierra Leone’s commitment to creating an inclusive society where every citizen can live free from discrimination and violence. As the nation takes these proactive steps, it sends a powerful message against gender-based violence and stands in solidarity with those often marginalized within our communities. PSN/8/12/2023