We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Albinism in Tanzania




We are seeing first hand here a tragic problem which is endangering the lives of people with albinism. Albinism is a genetic condition which results in a lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to sun exposure and bright light.  For more information on albinism, click here.

What is so horrific here in Tanzania is the industry of the sale of albino body parts. This evil business is due to the widespread belief that albino body parts carry magical powers when used in witchcraft for things like "fisherman's spells." There is the belief that the blood of a person with albinism can be drunk for riches or good luck. This leads to attacks and killings, often of vulnerable children. Limbs are hacked off and taken. The attacks and killings are brutal. The damaging effects are far-reaching

“Under the Same Sun” is an organization committed to ending the deadly discrimination against people with albinism (PWA) in Tanzania. You can read more about them on their website here. They care for, protect and educate children with albinism who have been abandoned, rejected or unprotected. Standing Voice, based in the UK is another organization seeking to stand with and support PWAs. Read more about them on their website here.

Listening to the stories of these children is heart-breaking.  A young boy shared his story with us. He and his brother and sister all have albinism and he told of how when living at home, they were woken by intruders in the night. He and his siblings managed to hide that night. But the next night, the men returned. While hiding, his sister was found and he was helpless as they cut pieces from her, including her tongue, and sat and drank her blood. 

These kids, considered by many to be a curse, have lived a life of danger and rejection. They have witnessed and experienced horrific things as their body parts are sought after for witchcraft purposes. But it is beautiful to listen to these children share how God has saved them and to hear them share their hopes and dreams to become accountants and pilots and to help others like them. 
 
One girl sharing her testimony with us




There are too many horrendous stories to report. The witchcraft related attacks on people albinism are horrific. The body parts of PWA are sought after by witchdoctors to make spells and charms for good luck and fortune-telling, which reports indicate have been used by politicians.

This report from Feb 17th, 2015 ...
BABY YOHANA BAHATI http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/18/kidnapped-tanzanian-albino-boy-found-dead-with-limbs-hacked-off?CMP=share_btn_fb

This article reports on the kidnapping and murder of little Yohanna Bahati (just 18 months old). His mother, Ester Jonas (30) ended up in critical condition in Bugando Hospital in Mwanza City. Doctors operated on her machete lacerations on her face and other parts of her body sustained while trying in vain to protect her baby boy, Yohana from the assailants. Yohana’s sister Tabu bahati (3), also with albinism, was placed under police protection. Their elder sibling with albinism Shida Bahati (12) with albinism, was away from home during the attack. A tragic, but sadly not isolated incident.
Ester, Yohanna's Mama
 
Attacks on PWA are horrific and brutal. Here is a link to a report on other attacks. 

Here are links to some news reports as we try to raise awareness on what is happening here.



Rachel is working with a group of mothers who have children with albinism or have albinism themselves. You can read more about this group, Upendo wa Mama on the separate blog page.


Here are some links to some of our blog stories which look at albinism ...
 
http://themongers.blogspot.com/2014/07/tadley-team-tanzania.html

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