Campaigner profile: Wanja Maina

Wanja Maina, Young Voices campaigner from Kenya, standing in front of a map of the worldEntrepreneur and charity founder Wanja Maina is currently studying at the United States International University in Nairobi, pursuing a bachelor degree in International business administration. Hannah makes curios and beads to sell locally. This helps to fund her education.

Wanja is a very active Young Voices campaigner. She has helped make a documentary about the lives of disabled people living in Kibera, one of Africa’s biggest slums. She is also the founder of the ‘Friends of Wanja Initiative,’ a mentorship programme at Joy-town primary school which supports people with disabilities to feel empowered to learn.

A Young Voices campaign that Wanja is particularly passionate about is her work with African albinos. Many locals believe that there are magical properties in the blood, bones and skin of people with albinism, a medical condition in which the body produces little or no pigment. She has recently supported a person with albinism to share their story with the media. She is also talking to people locally to help change attitudes and dispel the myths surrounding albinism.

Wanja is currently celebrating the first milestone of this campaign: “The number of albinos living in Africa is not known at the moment, but we are delighted as the government has agreed to officially record and monitor these statistics. Once they have an idea of numbers more action can be taken to support people with albinism.”

Follow Wanja’s Huffington Post blog.

Posted in Kenya, Taking Action and tagged ,

Young Voices campaigner speaks at launch of UNICEF report in Brussels

Michael Hosea, a Young Voices campaigner from Tanzania, spoke via teleconference at the launch of UNICEF’s flagship report: ‘The State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities’.

The launch took place in Brussels and was attended by 100 people from various EU institutions, Belgian Institutions and civil society. Attendees, including the Princess of Belgium, found his speech very moving, and were impressed by his courage and determination.

Michael is one of three Young Voices members to be featured in UNICEF’s report. Michael has albinism. In the report he tells of the horrific discrimination and abuse experienced by his family and other people with albinism in Tanzania.