Joseph is passionate about fighting for disability rights.
His story shows how empowering young people can change lives.
“It all began when I was in high school. Myself and my twin brother both have albinism and as we grew up the kind of discrimination we faced was very intense.
There were a lot of misconceptions and mythical ideas – people believed that we were cursed, that we bring bad luck, that we are evil people.
I had no idea how I was going to help these people understand. It demoralised our confidence and our self-esteem, impacted how we made friends.”
At the heart of activism is love.
In African culture if you have a child that is different from other children it can be very tough, but all my parents did was show us love. My father told us “people will bully you, but be strong, love yourself and know that you are good people”.
The most important thing he did was to teach me to accept myself and all the problems I had to face would be easier to overcome.
I did so much research, and as I started speaking I gained confidence.
I protested to my teachers about the school dress code, I have to wear a hat to protect my skin from the sun, but it was not part of the uniform. Once I explained the challenges myself and my brother faced they changed the rules.
My official activism began with The Tanzania Federation of Disabled People’s Organizations (SHIVYAWATA) and ADD International.
They gave me my first formal understanding of how advocacy works – building alliances, contacting powerholders and creating campaigns.
ADD has given me so many opportunities to make change. I’ve attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Global Disability Summit to raise so many issues.
Young leaders are the future.
Young people today are facing huge challenges and not taking their views and issues seriously is a big mistake.
It is so important to engage us in the decisionmaking process. I believe it is the only way to make sustainable change and create the fairer world we all want.
Activism gives me strength, and I believe I have a responsibility to make the world a more inclusive place. I think we all do.
Can you help young disabled people break the cycle of inequality?
Young disabled people have so much to contribute – they are the ones that can speak up on behalf of future generations - but are often made to feel at their views and skills do not count.
With your support today, we can help develop the leadership skills of the brightest young disability activists in the countries where we work.
Support them today, and your donation will be doubled.