A network of microphilanthropy that supports Middlebury students.

APWA Summit is a summer program that seeks to empower young people with albinism living in Kenya through personal and professional development workshops.

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Dollars Raised: 92%

Funding Details

Deadline: Jul 25, 2018
Total needed: $2,500


Meron Benti; Class of 2019; Anthropology; Shashemene, Ethiopia

Philitricia Baraza; Class of 2018; Economics; Nairobi, Kenya

Alyne Goncalves; Class of 2018.5; Geography and Environmental Studies; Praia, Cape Verde

Project Objective: 

The mission of APWA Summit is to create a peaceful setting where young adults with albinism from all around Kenya can build self confidence and the leadership skills necessary to make their dreams a reality and to spread positive awareness on albinism.

Brief Description: 

Albinism is a rare genetic condition that causes the lack of melanin in people affected by it. The condition is most common in Sub-Saharan African countries where approximately 1 in every 5,000 to 15,000 suffers from it. In many of these countries, Africans with albinism face higher chances of developing skin cancer, less access to education, and also life threatening conditions caused by witchcraft beliefs about the power of their body parts. Additionally, younger people with albinism are more likely to face discrimination and unemployment because of their vision disabilities caused by the condition.

Through our project we seek to tackle some of these core challenges faced by young people with albinism living in East Africa by creating a summer program that hopes to enhance the participants’ self-confidence and gives them the leadership abilities needed to eradicate negative awareness about albinism.

APWA Summit which stands for, Amani (peace in Swahili) for People with Albinism is a one week youth empowerment program where young adults from different Kenyan communities will convene in Meru, Kenya to participate in personal and professional development workshops organized in partnerships with other Kenyan NGOs such as the Albinism Society of Kenya, Mind Transformation Africa, International Peace Initiatives Center and Youth County Projects Kenya.

Our ultimate vision is to equip youth with albinism with the personal, professional, and health education needed for the advancement of their future and the improvement of perspectives on albinism.

What is the inspiration for your project?: 

All three of us were inspired to initiate or to join this project for various personal reasons. Meron Benti, a rising senior at Middlebury College majoring in Anthropology, is a person with albinism herself originally from Ethiopia. She initiated this project to fulfill a long lasting desire to use the resources available to her in order to bring positive impact in the lives of other people with albinism. She has personally experienced discrimination because of her condition and because of this she is very aware of the importance of a program like APWA Summit which can empower other young people with albinism and can allow them to develop self confidence and awareness of their inner talents and abilities.

Philitricia Baraza is a soon to be Middlebury graduate from Nairobi, Kenya with a passion for social and economic empowerment of the youth in Kenya. Because of her upbringings in Kibera, Philitricia recognizes the power of connecting youth to opportunity and to programs like APWA Summit.

Alyne Gonçalves is a senior originally from Cape Verde. Her strong passion for filmmaking and for topics regarding African identity formation have pushed her to join the APWA team in order to produce a documentary that not only will capture the summit but it will also aim to bring forwards stories of PWA to fight stereotypical and negative narratives about albinism.

How will MiddSTART help you achieve your project goal?: 

We will use the funding received through MiddSTART to cover the costs of lodging, food and transportation for the summit participants and volunteers. We will use the funding to also cover the costs of filming a documentary that will capture the summit in an effort to further promote positive awareness about albinism and PWA.


Donors are encouraged to follow our project via our Facebook page:


We also invite donors to learn more about Meron’s life as a person with albinism here:


2 Responses to “Amani for People with Albinism – Youth Empowerment Summit in Kenya”

  1. Kachi Okoronkwo says:

    As Meron’s mentor and a Davis Scholar (UWC-USA, ’02), I could not be more proud. To see her living out her dreams and aspirations in this way is legit overwhelming. Meron, stop making me cry all the time! But never stop being amazing. I love you girl!

  2. Dale Rogers Marshall says:

    I am now a Mentor, Mentor Lead, and Donor to the East Bay College Fund. Previously I was President of Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Many members of the Shelby Cullom Davis family were major donors to my college. So I am happy to make a small contribution to this


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