Albinism is a genetic disease, inherited from both parents, that causes a lack of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes. While praised in some countries, in parts of Africa Albinos are often highly discriminated against. Tanzania has the highest Albino birth rate, with one in every 1500 children born with the condition, but these children are at risk from birth as there is still a belief in witchcraft that can put these children in danger.
The UN has become actively involved in documenting and preventing the violence imposed on African children due to traditional witchcraft and with the emergence of Dr Abdallah Possi, the first Albino Deputy Minister, and a determined President Magalufi, attackers face harsher penalties for harming vulnerable Albino women and children. Tanzania’s Albinos have historically been deprived of education and alienated, but now specialised schools and communities, including the Ukewere Island Albino Sanctuary and Canadian NGO: ‘Under the Same Sun’, strive for equality.
While the journey continues, the previously silent torment and beauty of the Albino community grabs the world’s attention. Stories of survivors receiving prosthetic limbs, winners of Zimbabwe’s ‘Miss Albino’ pageant, and even Rihanna creating Albino-inclusive makeup, inspire thousands of Albinos to find their voice, amaze us with their bravery and let us know they are “Not ghosts, but human beings” (UN Human Rights Commission). Learn more about the movement here.
Zahra worked as a paid intern at Family Kids & Youth during her time following A levels before starting a law degree at UCL. Zahra ran some of the peer-to-peer focus groups for FK&Y’s Wellbeing and the Internet Study.