Josephat Torner The Tanzania Albino Campaigner, How You Can Help!
At 34 years old, Josephat Torner has done something very few others will get the chance to do. He conquered Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania's Kilimanjaro National Park. Making Torner's ascent even more marketable was his motivation for doing so: Josephat Torner was born an albino.
Albinism is a rare genetic disorder which prevents the body from producing melanin, a substance responsible for producing skin pigment and promoting proper development of the eyes. Estimates suggest 1 in every 20,000 people around the world is born with the disorder. In Africa, that number is more like 1 in 4,000.
In Torner's native Tanzania the albino population is especially high. Some of the more recent estimates peg the number in excess of 270,000. And while albinism is easily managed and supported in the Western world, in Tanzania it can be deadly. That's why Josephat may not live long enough to see 40.
In the sun soaked environment of Tanzania, where medical care is inadequate, the risks of skin cancer among albinos is extremely high. Yet even that's not the biggest danger for people like Josephat Torner. Albinos in Tanzania are at greater risk of being murdered by their fellow countrymen who harvest their body parts and sell them to witch doctors.
Fighting for His Fellow Albinos
In light of the persecution and torment African albinos face every day Torner has dedicated his life to raising awareness about the condition and bringing attention to the horrific conditions in East Africa. His ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro was just one of the many tasks undertaken to achieve his goals and prove albinos can do anything.
As an activist for the Ukerewe Albino Association, located on Tanzania's Ukerewe Island, one of Torner's most important functions is to work with those who suffer as he does to help them understand they are not limited by the misconceptions and false assumptions of others. It is to teach his fellow albinos that they can achieve, they can get an education, they can raise families and start businesses, and they can live normal, productive lives.
In addition to his efforts on Ukerewe Island, Torner has been all over the world to shed light on the plight of African albinos through UN demonstrations, personal interviews, and speaking events. His tireless efforts have resulted in organizations like Southern Africa's Children getting involved on Ukerewe Island.
The importance of the efforts of Torner and organisations like Southern Africa's Children cannot be underestimated. Through the work of SAC an educational community centre has been established, funds have been set up to provide material aid, and albino children are being enrolled in schools. Furthermore, governments around the world have been made aware of the situation and are now putting tremendous pressure on African governments to step up.
Who knows how long Josephat Torner will be alive to carry the cause of his people. Yet long after he's gone his legacy will live on. Please consider helping delete the work of SAC, by making an online donation.
More about Josephat Torner
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