March 7, 2024

Empowering Women with Albinism: A Journey of Advocacy and Resilience for Maimouna Dene

Women Impacted by Albinism

In an exclusive interview with Maimouna Dene, the president of the Association of Women with Albinism of Burkina Faso (AFAB), we talked her remarkable journey, the challenges she’s faced, and the inspiring initiatives she’s leading to empower women with albinism in Burkina Faso. 

Maimouna’s story is one of perseverance in the face of adversity. Growing up in Burkina Faso, she encountered stigma and mockery due to her albinism, making her school journey tough. However, her experiences fueled her passion for advocacy and led her to join organizations championing women’s and children’s rights. Eventually, she found her voice in an association fighting for people with albinism, where she assumed a leadership role.

“My difference is my uniqueness.”

Established in 2008, AFAB aims to support mothers and women with albinism, challenge societal norms, and advocate for legislative changes to protect their rights. Maimouna’s leadership has been instrumental in driving these initiatives forward, despite facing numerous challenges along the way. 

One of the key challenges Maimouna has faced is the underestimation of women with albinism in leadership positions, despite her qualifications and dedication, reflecting a broader societal prejudice. However, her resilience and determination propelled her to overcome these obstacles, inspiring others to challenge stereotypes and pave their paths.

Under Maimouna’s leadership, AFAB has made significant strides in empowering women with albinism. Through various projects and initiatives, they have provided training, educational support, and income-generating opportunities to hundreds of women and children. They were able to train 291 parents of children with albinism in soap making, and at the university level, they have supported 7 students in pursuing their studies in Communication, Logistics, and Marketing. These are some of the impacts of the organization. Moreover, AFAB has actively advocated for the inclusion of people with albinism in national policies and programs, highlighting the importance of visibility and representation.

“Established in 2008, AFAB aims to support mothers and women with albinism, challenge societal norms, and advocate for legislative changes to protect their rights.”

Beyond her role within AFAB, Maimouna’s advocacy extends to organizing events like “Albiweek,” a week long cultural showcase where people with albinism can freely express themselves through activities such as Miss Albinism pageants. These events not only boost self-confidence but also raise awareness and challenge stereotypes surrounding albinism in Burkina Faso. 

Despite her achievements, Maimouna acknowledges the ongoing challenges faced by women with albinism, particularly regarding health care and societal attitudes. However, she remains optimistic and committed to driving positive change through ongoing advocacy efforts. 

In conclusion, Maimouna Dene’s leadership exemplifies the transformative impact of resilience, advocacy, and community empowerment. Her journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring leaders, especially women, encouraging them to challenge stereotypes, embrace their uniqueness, and advocate for a more inclusive and equitable society. 

As Maimouna aptly puts it, “My difference is my uniqueness.” Let us celebrate and embrace the diversity that enriches our communities, empowering women with albinism to thrive and fulfill their potential.

Africa Albinism Network

Written By:

Africa Albinism Network (AAN)

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