I was born in Juja and I live with my siblings and parents in Gachagi slum. There are six children in our family. The impairments caused by my condition make life very difficult. I always have trouble with the sun and have to cover up with heavy, long-sleeved clothing and wear sunglasses to protect my eyes.
I also have troubles at school. Sometimes I can’t see the blackboard, and I always have to sit in the shade. I do not have vision-enhancing devices, such as glasses, magnifiers and special computer equipment, and without it children with albinism have a hard time graduating from school and finding employment. My family is poor, so getting money for school fees is also difficult. Life is complicated even more by the way people treat us. There is a lot of discrimination against people with albinism, and I sometimes lack the company of friends. Some people also believe horrible myths about us: that we are not human and never die, that albinism is a curse and that anyone who touches us will be cursed. Worst of all, practitioners of witchcraft hunt and kill us to use our hair, body parts and organs in charms and potions. For centuries some people have believed that if they go to a witch doctor with albino.
To escape life’s difficulties, I love to write poems. I have just written a poem about albinos and our struggle. My dream is to one day be able to recite the poems in a big concert to highlight the plights that albinos have. I pray that people around the world can one day understand that albinos are no different from them. We are all human beings and deserve to be treated with love and respect. Young Leah* says she wants to be a nurse and a poet when she grows up.
Macheo is dedicated to ensuring every child, everywhere, has the opportunity to learn. We are working hard to ensure that marginalized and vulnerable children like Leah* are in school. It is up to all of us to make sure they are developing the critical skills they need to succeed. We thank our partners who have enabled us to achieve this milestones.