Quick to arrest, but slow to help: Ngoma fights for rights of Albinos, beggars

He suffered rejection from his own family at an early age, but Peter Ngoma has risen above his bad start. As he tries to better his life, he strives to make sure he does not leave his fellow albinos, and other disabled people, behind.

We are also human: Peter Ngoma.
We are also human: Peter Ngoma.

Now 42 years old, Ngoma has risen to be a pastor with the Wisdom Bible Church. Equipped with a Degree in Theology and studying for another, he is also the founder and president of the International Federation of People with Albinism and Blindness.

“Our aim is to empower disabled people financially, spiritually and economically through various projects,” said the Harare-born Ngoma.

“IFPAB also assists learning institutions to empower those with various disabilities and since we were founded in 2010, our membership has risen to more than 1 200 people from various African countries. There are many aspects of our life that are being overlooked because very few people or organisations speak for us,” he added.

“Our aim is to one day see Albinos and disabled people rise to decision-making bodies like Parliament and Cabinet, where they would effectively represent their kin. We cannot wait for the able-bodied to represent us, as they hardly feel what we are going through.”

Among the various projects the organisation has come up with, despite lack of proper funding, are knitting, peanut butter making and jam-making.

“We are tired of seeing the blind beg on the streets, sometimes with children who should be at school. We want to empower them to educate their own children, while also making a decent life for themselves.”

He has knocked on many doors, including embassies, but not made much progress so far. “The authorities are always fast to arrest those who beg for their survival, but the procedures we have been given to follow in order to access funds from governments are very cumbersome, yet we need to move fast,” he said.

Members have forked out money from their own pockets to set up their projects in downtown Johannesburg, where they rent two floors of an old flat.

“We have been denied funding, shunned from the workplace and rejected by society, but we are determined to survive,” said the determined Zimbabwean, whose organisation is also affiliated to the World Albino Alliance.

“There are a lot of myths and stereotypes, such as if you sleep with an Albino, you will be cured of HIV/Aids. This has given rise to countless cases of rape. Others think that if you eat with an Albino, you risk giving birth to one, but all these are lies,” said Ngoma.

“We are also human beings with feelings, but you cannot understand that if you do not come closer to us.

Many albinos die at a tender age because of the kind of life they are subjected to by society. Help us live longer because we can also live beyond 100 years of age,” he pleaded. The sixth in a family of 12, Ngoma said that when he was young, his family seemed confused about how to handle his congenital disorder, until his aunt took him to a school for Albinos in Zambia. His life completely changed.

“As a boy, I had reached a stage where I felt I should not even exist, but the school changed that around, thanks to my aunt,” added Ngoma.

To fellow Albinos, his message was, “If they laugh at you, do not be concerned, for they do not know what they are doing. God brought you to this world for a purpose and He will not reject you – even if the rest of the world does.”

Post published in: Education

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