Written by Maiga Aminata Traore
President, Malian Association for the Protection of Albinos (AMPA)
Ramata Diarra is a young girl of five, who was kidnapped, murdered and mutilated on May 12 in Fana, Koulikoro region in Mali. This story shows the actions that empowerment grantee AMPA has undertaken to support the family, to mobilise the Voice grantees and beyond to lobby and advocate the government to protect the albino community in Mali.
It is a story of courage, engagement and solidarity in light of June 13, the UN International Day for the Awareness of Albinism.
AMPA is a young association defending the rights of people with albinism and promoting their socio-economic integration. The empowerment grant from Voice is their first ever donor fund. With the funds, they organise awareness raising and influencing activities to promote the rights of albinos in Mali.
Albinism continues to be profoundly misunderstood. It is a rare disease caused by a lack of pigmentation in hair, skin and eyes, resulting in a huge sensitivity to sun and light. People with albinism are discriminated and stigmatised worldwide but especially in Africa. Campaigns can help fight against superstition and stigmatisation and based on this, AMPA has started the project.
Thus far, the project has mobilised protection services, religious leaders and civil society at large. Outreach has been done in Kadiolo and Penssoba, which are notorious communities for harassing and killing of albinos, especially during the electoral period.
After the murder of Ramata, AMPA went to visit the community in Fana to support the family, talk to people in the community as well as observe.
After visiting the family, AMPA started mobilising. They were invited in Radio Studio Tamani to participate in a debate about the murder of their sister Ramata, inviting the listeners to share their experiences and impressions.
June 5, the Minister for Human Rights received a big AMPA delegation to officially relay their indignation. AMPA also requested her personal commitment to ensure justice will be done.
The Fédération Malienne des Associations de Personnes Handicapées, another Voice grantee, issued a press release to condemn the killing.
The Minister also expressed her feelings of horror and indignation which contributed to advancing the investigation into the reasons behind the murder.
And finally, another Voice grantee, Agoratoire didn't remain indifferent and worked on a song with an AMPA member to honour Ramata. The single has been released officially on June 13, and you can already listen here. Agoratoire and AMPA are collaborating to realise the activities on June 13 and beyond to jointly raise awareness in a campaign that lasts until December.