BY MERCY NDIRANGU
Discrimination, stereotyping and perceptions of beauty, Prejudice, name calling has been part of life for Martha Florence Namai. Born in 2001 in Rurandi Constituency, Kakamega County, Martha has gotten used to isolation and rejection she has been shown by the society including her father.
Martha was born in a family where the father has three wives. Her Mother Sophia Awinja is the third wife to her Father Honarad Luchendo. In her whole family she is the only ‘Unique’ child; she has Albinism. Mr. Luchendo having given birth to normal children, he has never understood how he could have a white child yet he is black. This has led to his disapproval of his third wives last born daughter.
Nine years after her birth, her mother struggled and was able to take her to Nursery school. When she was in Class two, it was the season that most people were sacrificing people with Albinism. She was walking back home from school and the people started chasing her , telling her she would cost millions and she would be sacrificed.
She managed to run for her life and went to her mother’s house. She stayed home for some time before going back to school then one day there was hope. Her mother’s friend Janet Ing’onga saw the problems and discrimination that Martha was facing and decided to take her from the Village. Janet talked to the principal of Iregi girls’ primary school to allow Martha school in the boarding school which she agreed. Janet went ahead and narrated the plight of Martha to the parents and teacher who later came with a model of giving Ksh 500 towards Martha’s’ school fees. Martha joined the school and for the first time she was able to make friends and find children who looked like her.
Martha forgot for a short time about her past and decided to concentrate on her studies, she would always top up in class and she became index four. When the Cabinet Secretary of Ministry of Education, Dr. Fred O. Matiang’I announced the results in December last year, she was among the children who had scored the best. She got 371 marks and was number four in her school.
After her K.C.P.E examination, her past caught up with her and she had to go back to her Village. Being the only child in the whole family who was able to finish Primary School education, she continued facing prejudices. Her sisters and brothers were married off at a young age.
Her mother who was narrating her daughter story to Albinism Society of Kenya press through an interpreter said her husband had never valued Education and hence getting support from him to take her daughter to secondary school was mission impossible.
After weeks of staying home after the release of the results, Janet was curious to know what had become of Martha, She went to her Village and found her depressed, crying all the time and with no hope of continuing with Secondary School.
Janet went to Facebook to seek for donors who would come in small and big ways to help Martha attend Secondary School.(Martha was called to St Mary’s Secondary School in Kakamega County and needs Ksh 250,000 to complete her secondary School).
Most people on social media referred Janet to Hon. Sen. Dr. Isaac Mwaura who represents people with disabilities in Senate and to her luck, Hon. Isaac Mwaura invited them to his office in Nairobi Friday 19th 2017..Janet accompanied with Martha and Sophia narrated the whole story to their Senator, who first took time to encourage Martha with his own story then afterwards ensured that Martha’s shopping was catered for through Albinism Society of Kenya. He later engaged Martha’s area MP for bursary which would ensure Martha’s clears Secondary School.
“When I grow up I would want to be a Neural Surgeon. I hope someday my father will be able to look at me and be proud of me because every time I ask him of something he beats me up and send me away.” Martha Said. Her hope is that she will be able to be accepted by her father and the society at Large.
Also in the meeting was the wife of Senator Maura , Mukami Mwaura, She was also a source encouragement to the girl and by the time Martha and her family were leaving the office she was smiling and hopeful for the future.
Daniel Moi the programs officer of Albinism Society of Kenya was tasked to take the girl to school and ensure she is received well by both the teachers and students. Our hope as Albinism Society of Kenya is that Parents will be able to accept children with albinism and give them love as any other children.
At 17 years , Martha is hopeful of finishing school and becoming what she has always wanted to be; a Neural Surgeon.