From Newsroom to Advocacy – Ugandan Journalist Here Larubi speaks out on closing the information gap on albinism.

He quit his job from mainstream media to go undertake his activism work with Pats Journal – The Albinism News Network an online story telling platform where people come to discover, learn and share inspiring stories of persons with albinism and those making a difference around the world.

Here Larubi and an albino

Here Larubi services as Director Communications and Head of Strategies besides working as a freelance travel and events photographer, video producer and a disability right activist.

In a one on one interview with the press, Larubi shares how and why he became an advocate, what he loves about his new role and what lies ahead of his work.

Can you explain what you do as the Director Communications and Head of Strategies with the journal?

I am responsible for the implementation of communications both internally and externally. managing PR, Content working hand in hand with various program directors and disable person’s organization’s as a consultant in trying to collectively raising voices on issues involving inclusion and diversity especially on albinism through online campaigns.

Ultimately, at Pats Journal, we are working hard to stream our content “messages” by cutting on the noise of negativity to ensuring that we accurately represent our business’s model, values and objectives”, since inception last year.

What drives you into this activism work?

I have listen to countless stories of people with albinism and I realized I wanted to be a voice for change so I took on my media role in a new twist to stand up for humanity. I was fed up of the sad stories, memories and experience of persons with albinism. I wanted to create awareness on albinism so that the sad stories will not be a repeated episodes caused by ignorance on the condition. Why should any woman and especially one with albinism be raped simply because perpetrators are lost in myth that when you sleep with them you do not contract HIV/AIDs? Why are people so mad not to differentiate science and fiction? Why should a life be destroyed in the name of riches when those being killed are actually the poor of the poorest? Whatever the case injustice and attacks on persons with albinism is an attack on humanity. Its criminal that’s why, I rose up to propagate sustainable development goal 16 calling of peace, justice and strong institutions. Because I know, that there will be no peace if families of people with albinism continue to live in fear for the unknown nor will the community be safe if these criminal cases relating to kidnaps and murder for rituals of PWA are not brought to logical conclusion.

What do you envision?

You and me need a better world than this especially in this pre-colonial era, ignorance is thing for the past. My work and pleas are actually cries. A cry for peace, justice and the urge to see an equal world for all as projected in Sustainable Development Goals 10 to reduce inequality with a focus on removing stigma and promoting peaceful co-existence.
We all need to stand up for human rights and ensure that the prevailing myth and misconceptions on albinism are dealt with once and forever if we are to help the next generation of children and /or youth with albinism live self-fulfilling lives.

What are some activities you have participated in and how they impacted your life?

Field research, sourcing and publishing of real life stories on my blog has been one of the most fulfilling journey in my life. Not all PWA had the tool or space to voice their concern so I decided to take this lonely path to pioneer an initiative that would work as news collectives for persons with albinism and indeed Pats Journal was born. It was aimed at helping create awareness and educating the populace on issues regarding albinism.
For me, it was humanity on the crossroad not Persons with Albinism and indeed through this initiative I feel like their voice and presence in the media is now being felt since they can now speak up and be hear besides standing up for their rights.
I was honored to have led a youth group from Uganda for the first ever Mr and Miss Albinism East Africa beauty contest that brought together 30 contestants from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It was more of a show of ability, creating public awareness across the region and the world on factual aspects of albinism, ending prejudice, social oppression and discrimination against persons with albinism besides exposing the contestants to the vast existing opportunities across the world through this unique space.

International Albinism Awareness day, has been one of the key event in our calendar of activities and as an individual I have been at the forefront of documenting and sharing progress and photos through tweets and live feed broadcast on Facebook showing the progress Uganda is making through SNUPA and AU in a call for a decent world for all.

Here and albinos

Who is Pat Robert Larubi?

I am a Ugandan based independent investigative journalist, special features TV News producer, Lifestyle and travel photographer, blogger and award-winning disability rights activist.
First born in a family of eight children born to Mr. Alex Otim, a retired inspector of police and Mrs. Aber Cecilia a business woman who all now reside in Kati Kati Village Lacor.
Graduate of journalism and mass communication from UMCAT school of Journalism, I went to Kabalega Secondary School for my O level, then to Premier High School Ntinda and completed from Kajjansi Progressive.
Pursued a post graduate Diploma in Business computing from Datamine Technical Business School before joining UMCAT school of Journalism and mass communication where I was able to merge my ICT Skills with a dream to become one of the best television producer in Uganda.
Over time this dream went on fading as photography and reporting took most of my time. I am DW Akadmie Tell the Story- Fellow besides several other professional training and fellowship programs attained over years.

I come with years of cross cutting experience in broadcast, print and online reportage. Media consultancy and training background after attending a pedagogical training skill program and lectured over 500 students with basic ICT skills and social wellbeing while working as a junior lecturer at UMCAT School of journalism.

While still at UMCAT, I was a student at the same time a lecturer and an intern at parliament reporting for Mama. Moved on to work as marketing executive/presenter on 89.5 Speak Fm, then NTV correspondent news reporter for Acholi Sub region and contributor to the Daily Monitor.
Besides, I had worked chimpreports, Sunrise newspaper and BBS Terefayina but left after two solid years to take on an independent media journey. Starting out Pats Journal – The Albinism News Network geared towards amplify voices of persons with albinism in the country and beyond. I wanted to be good advocates and the voice of hope for those in need and I hope through me Persons with albinism will see light and fair treatment.

Mike Odeh (Nigeria) and Maikem Emmanuela
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