Achievers with albinism: Emmie

“I am proud that I have albinism and have managed to get where I am”


This is Emmie, she is a larger than life, chatty character who lights up the room

 At school Emmie had difficulty reading the board and textbooks, so always sat at the front of the class. A few friends copied notes for her and helped her to read from the board.

“You are treated like you are not a human being, but you get used to it”

Emmie has an advanced diploma and worked hard to get to where she is today. She works for the Ministry of Tourism, has been in her job for five years and is well accepted (she suspects that holding an important position helps!).

Emmie joined the Association of Persons with Albinism (APAM) in 2005 and is now the Vice Chair of the association. She is an advocate for albinism and is an inspiration, not only to those with albinism, but to all. She explains to communities about albinism and says that she has seen a change in attitudes over the years.

Other difficulties for those with albinism include relationships. Emmie has experienced acceptance from a partner, but discrimination from his family, she felt that “someone is discouraging him”. Fortunately, she is now in a new relationship. They plan to visit relatives as ‘friends’ to get to know them first. Her new partner says:

“it’s okay for me, I don’t see any difference between you and me”.

Written up by Bryony Downes



Life at the lodge

The team stay at Fisherman’s Rest outside Blantyre for most of the trip.

Hannah and Liz on an early morning run

Hannah and Liz on an early morning run










Cooling off in the pool at FR

Cooling off in the pool










Our vehicle at Fisherman's Rest

Our vehicle at Fisherman’s Rest










Early morning Chichewa lessons on the lawn

Early morning Chichewa lessons on the lawn

Gule Wamkulu – ‘Big Dance’

Bryony reports on a cultural experience- watching a local dance troupe.

A Gule Wamkulu is a traditional tribal dance that involves dancers taking on the persona of spirit while wearing a mask.

The dance has three functions:




    Gule Wamkulu often take place on special occasions or at prestigious events.

The dance also involves music and singing. It begins when the drumming begins.

Hoards of onlookers came running to the middle of the village and within minutes the whole area was full!

More information on the student blog at:

The musicians and dancers pose, without their masks

The musicians and dancers pose, without their masks










The drums arrive in the village on a bike

The drums arrive in the village on a bike










Nyau mask

A nyau mask

The monkey

The monkey












My Girl project

Sophie reports on the My Girl project:

We were lucky enough to be able to observe and participate in education sessions for Project My Girl.

Aside from the science, these sessions ironed out the discrepancies between traditional beliefs of menstruation and the truth. It was shocking to learn some of the Malawian traditional myths that the girls originally believed and rewarding to observe them learn the truth and realize menstruation is a natural part of growing up.

Observing the progression in the girl’s knowledge and confidence to speak openly about menstruation was one of the most inspirational things about being part of Project My Girl. It was clear that the sessions had empowered the girls.

We handed out the reusable sanitary packs to each of the girls (three reusable sanitary pads and two pairs of knickers) once the girls had been shown how to use them. Each of the girls were so grateful and excited to receive their own packs and seeing their reaction was a touching experience which will stay with me.

My Girl training 1

My Girl 2











Women walking home after the training session

Women walking home after the training session










Emily, a local tailor, making re-usable sanitary pads

Emily, a local tailor, making re-usable sanitary pads

Emily with a finished pad

Emily with a finished pad

Radio drama: Love Builds

Love Builds
A radio drama to inform teachers and the wider community about albinism and how to support those affected at school and in the community.

The storyline is fictional, but based on evidence gathered in research studies involving interviews with many stakeholders, including those with albinism and their families.

The myths and beliefs about children with albinism in Malawi and other parts of Africa are challenged in this brief and passionate plea for love, togetherness, inclusion and understanding. Albinism is an inherited condition where there is little pigment produced in the skin, hair and eyes. Madalo is a 9 year old girl with albinism. Her quest for education is challenged when she faces stigma and inadequate support from peers and society. Zgambo, a new teacher at her school, is convinced that teachers, pupils and society can do better to address her needs. He believes LOVE BUILDS.

Albinism in Africa – Radio Drama, Love Builds

Love Builds – Episode One


Love Builds – Episode Two


Love Builds – Episode Three


Love Builds – Episode Four


Love Builds – Episode Five


Love Builds – Episode Six

Albinism posters

Information posters to raise awareness about albinism in Malawi and Zambia: