We received two letters from different cities in Tanzania. Both asking for "Project Daniel"-type help for people with albinism who've been subjected to brutal attacks and disfigurement because of an "absurd myth" as to their magical powers. We've been gut-punched by the details, and we need to be part of a movement to create awareness for their plight.
Dear people of Project Daniel,
Great to hear about your Project Daniel, the 3D-printing project for prostheses for children in Sudan.
Tanzania has one of the largest populations of people with Albinism in the world, as many as 170,000 according to some estimates.
Albinism is a genetically inherited disorder. Sufferers are affected by an absence of melanin, a pigmentation defect in skin, hair and eyes. It causes vulnerability to sun exposure and bright light. Many have very poor vision as a consequence.
Due to an absurd myth that associate people with Albinism with magical powers, they are targeted for their body parts such as legs, hands, fingers, heads and genitals. There is a sinister trade of body parts for the use in witchcraft rituals and good luck charms.
Over the last five years the situation has become much, much worse. Despite international outrages and repeated attempts by the Tanzanian government to stop this appalling practice,the slaughtering continues. Bodyparts of children with Albinism aremost often targeted.
My organization the Tanzania Albinism Society is trying to help thesepeople. Unfortunately we have to work with a small budget and could use all the help we can get.
I also have attached some photos of victims of these attacks. This video explains their situation: http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/4933 [NB: MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY]
Warm regards, Lisette Sprengers, volunteer Tanzania Albinism Society.
A member of this community, Josephat Tomer, is featured in a documentary called In the Shadow of the Sun - see the trailer, below: