PEOPLE WITH ALBINISM - LIVING UNDER THE SHADOW OF DEATH
Albinos are those without 'colour' i.e. without melanin. Life is hard for albinos throughout Africa, but especially in Tanzania. At best, they face raw prejudice; at worst, they are hunted for their flesh, the results of superstitious beliefs. Now Rotary offers them a helping hand.
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SHOULD THE ABSENCE OF COLOUR, WHICH IS WHAT ALBINISM IS, BE A DEATH SENTENCE?
Imagine that you have just had a baby. Members of your own family take a look at it and conspire to have it kidnapped and its body parts sold off for a large sum of money.
This is a story we were told when we visited Tanzania. We’ve no way of confirming it. But reports show that more than 100 albinos have been violently attacked in Tanzania from 2006 to June of this year — 71 died and 31 escaped, though most were maimed.
The Rotary Foundation (TRF) approved a Global Grant (USD 107,100) to the Rotary Clubs of Moshi (Tanzania) and Mirfield (UK) for a two year project to offer a helping hand to the Albino community in the Lake Victoria area.
This Project's aims are: to build bridges between those with Albinism and those without, campaign against prejudice and inequality, improve health care, improve access and opportunity for education and training, empower Pepeople with Albinism (PWAs) to become economically more active and undertake robust advocacy to offer PWAs their right to live in peace without fear.
AN AMAZING TESTIMONY TO THE POWER OF ROTARY AND ITS PARTNES
A key aspect of the project is to go into the heart of the community and meet with people to help them understand that the Albinos are people just like us. So far we have held 40 meetings attended by over 2000 people. At one follow-up meeting one young woman with albinisam stood up and said: 'before you came we were treated like animals; but now we know we are human beings'.
What a powerful testimony to the power of Rotary?
More information from Faye Cran (Moshi, Tanzania)
John Philip (Mirfield, UK)