Myths around albinism are widespread and dangerous.
People with albinism lack the gene for producing melanin, a natural substance that gives colour to the human hair, skin and eyes and protects the skin from the ultra violet light of the sun. However in parts of Uganda where research and technology aren't readily available, this medical condition is often perceived as witchcraft.
People with albinism are hunted for their body parts because they are said to bring good fortune; women with albinism face a higher risk of sexual abuse because sex with a person with albinism is thought to bring wealth and cure HIV/Aids. Faced with such stigma and danger, people living with albinism tend to live in isolation.
Dispelling the myths.
We help people with albinism to form local groups so that they can share experiences and feel that they are not alone. We support these groups to campaign for their rights and fight back against dangerous myths. Our projects usually involve a combination of training, campaigning and awareness-raising activities. Here are three key activities which had a great impact in raising awareness about albinism:
Campaigning for cheaper sun protection. We've build the capacity of activists so they can lobby and influence policy makers to waive the tax on sunscreen for people with albinism, who have highly sensitive skin and are more susceptible to skin cancer.
‘Sensitisation’ workshops. Activists educate others about the challenges faced by people with albinism, running successful workshops with local government leaders, police, cultural institutions, religious leaders and traditional healers.
Media campaigns. Activists feature on radio, television talk shows, adverts and special programmes with profiles of people with albinism to raise awareness about the condition.
Peter is an albinism activist in Uganda where there are still many myths attached to albinism, including that persons with albinism are cursed, are punishments from the gods, are ghosts, have supernatural powers, or do not die.
Ignored by her family, Elizabeth was bullied and beaten at school and abused by her neighbours for her disability. Her husband later abandoned her and she was the victim of an attempted kidnapping plot to trade her body parts. Read how she turned her life around through her activism and resilience.
Rebecca was shunned by her community because they didn't understand what albinism is. They called her names and thought she wasn't human. Read how the work of disability activists has helped change the stigma in her town.
Lets build movements together.
Millions of disabled people in Africa and Asia are still condemned to a life of poverty and exclusion. Right now, organisations of disability activists are working to fight discrimination and ensure every disabled person gets a fighting chance at living their best life. They urgently need your support.