Albinism in east Africa is more prevalent than in western countries. Albinism is a genetic condition caused by recessive genes inherited from both parents. It is characterized by a lack of pigment in a person’s hair, skin and eyes. The average person with albinism in East Africa dies by age 40 from skin cancer. Visual impairment and extreme light sensitivity is also common among persons with albinism, many of whom become blind.
The lack of understanding of genetics, a belief in witch doctors’ claims that people with albinism are ghosts, not real people, and those same witch doctors’ willingness to pay for body parts of those with albinism have all created an unsafe, even treacherous situation for children with albinism. The Tanzanian government has created walled centres to protect these children. These places are sadly lacking in education, enrichment, nutrition, and safety.
Living Water Children’s Fund has placed 16 children from these settlements into Living Water Children’s Center locales. A new government edict says that children must remain in their home districts. LWCF hopes to continue to help children with albinism by helping to make the settlements where they are housed better. LWCF has donated mattresses, benches, protective clothing, hats, glasses, a television, and other material. We would like to continue to support improvement in the education and living conditions of the settlements and to help educate the populace about the truth regarding albinism.
A primary concern about children with albinism is that they be constantly protected from the sun. Through a grant from Belizean Grove, LWCF provided protective clothing for children with albinism at Mitindo Special Primary School. The hats, shirts, pants, and dresses do a good job of covering up the children, and they are also stylish.