Albinism is a congenital disorder that is defined as the absence of pigment in the skin, eyes and hair. Individuals with the condition do not have the ability to produce melanin which leaves the skin vulnerable to the sun’s harsh rays. In addition the dangers of sun exposure, albinism also creates other health problems in vision and a weakened immune system.
According to Under The Same Sun, albinism occurs in 1 in 20,000 people in North America and Europe.
In Africa, however, the rate of albinism is much higher. In Tanzania alone, 1 in 1,400 people are afflicted with the disorder.
African Albinos endure several hardships that make day to day life increasingly dangerous. The effects of their condition and a superstition centered around their rarity creates many challenges for their chance at survival.
In Africa, rural areas are more dangerous for albinos. Many villagers have held a long-standing superstition that if one is in the possession of albino bones, good luck, happiness and wealth will befall them. This mind-set has been at the center of countless attacks and murders on albinos.
This belief has created a dangerous place for albinos in Africa. Not only are they brutally attacked, but they are savagely killed. Villagers often sell albino body parts to witchdoctors in the hopes to make quick money.
In addition to the vicious attacks, many albinos die before the age of 40 due to a lack of appropriate protection from the sun. Sunscreen is expensive in Africa and many albinos do not have access to the funds needed to purchase the life-saving necessity. Their lives are dependent upon access to sunscreen, proper healthcare, awareness about their condition and justice for those who succumb to dangerous attacks.
Under the Same Sun is an organization working to help those at risk. They are passionately committed to ending discrimination and violence against persons with albinism and facilitating social inclusion and participation. They achieve this through advocacy and education.
Join us in helping the make a difference by donating today.