Tanzania Albino

How to End the Persecution of the Tanzania Albino - Today

The United Republic of Tanzania is an East African nation bordering Uganda and Kenya in the north, Zambia and Mozambique to the south, Rwanda and Burundi to the West, and the Indian Ocean on the east. It is known for its diverse geography including majestic mountains, fertile farmlands, desert valleys, and dozens of islands in Lake Victoria. One of those islands, known as Ukerewe, is home to the Ukerewe albino population.

Albinos suffer from a genetic disorder known as "albinism." This disorder prevents the normal production of melanin, leading to a noticeable lack of pigmentation which results in pale skin and discoloured eyes. Unfortunately, the lack of pigmentation also increases the risk of severe sunburn, skin cancer, and vision problems. In East Africa, it also leads to a grave misunderstanding which has resulted in African albinos being hunted like animals.

Fleeing to Ukerewe Island

All over Africa the persecution of albinos is routine. But it is most severe in Tanzania were albinism is thought to give those who suffer from it some sort of magical power. Albinos in Tanzania are regularly hunted and murdered, after which they are dismembered and their body parts sold to witch doctors who use them to create magical potions Tanzanians believe will make them rich. Many more, though not murdered, are kidnapped and sold for their alleged magical powers.

In order to find relative safety, albinos who have the money will try to get to places where they can find support such as Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria. Thankfully, they're not alone. Southern Africa's Children (SAC) is the only NGO on Ukerewe Island actively working in the MWANZA region to help care for Tanzania's albinos and their families. SAC has been working in partnership with the Ukerewe Albino Association since 2005. The Ukerewe Albino Association is a small local group managed and run by albino volunteers who dedicate their lives to helping other albinos in the community who are living in fear and who are vulnerable.

The Work of Southern Africa's Children

SAC is heavily invested on Ukerewe Island, working in partnership with the Ukerewe Albino Association. Together the two organisations provide the Tanzania albino population with the information, support, and direct help they need. In addition, SAC provides material help to support both the Ukerewe Albino Association and the individuals living on the island.

For example, in 2010 they purchased land for the Association which included plantations, existing buildings, and a water supply. That property is now the Umoja Community Centre; a place where Tanzanian albinos can come to get the help and support they need. It also houses the headquarters of the Ukerewe Albino Association.

More directly SAC helps by providing funds for sunglasses, protective clothing, sun creams, and even food. Entrepreneurs are helped through a fund put in place to provide business start-up financing. SAC funds provide the uniforms, books and education papers needed for albino boys and girls to go to school. SAC strongly believes that it is through albino children accessing an education, integrating with non albino children from a young age, forming firm life long friendships and securing the results necessary to live an independent life that eventually albinos will become accepted as humans in local soceity. Finally, among SAC's current projects is fundraising designed to expand the community centre and set up a medical clinic. ?The expansion the organization hopes to provide not only medical care, but also educate Tanzanians about what albinism really is and how those who suffer with it live.

SAC is committed to helping empower the Ukerewe Albino Association to improve the lives of albinos and promote their integration into everyday life. If you'd like to help, please consider a donation to the Umoja Community Centre or the Tanzania albino population on Ukerewe Island .

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If you are interested in supporting either of our projects then please do contact Jennifer Walker on 07775 505807 or 01933 664091 or via our contact us page. Alternatively click on our "How to help" page.

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