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Pope Francis

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Albinos in Tanzania receive assistance from the UN and local authorities

2014-11-03

In Tanzania, Africa, people with albinism are struggling to survive. Due to the misconception that their limbs can give good fortune and prosperity, they are often attacked and their body parts are sold for thousands of dollars.  

Albinism is a genetic condition that results in a reduced or complete lack of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes.

The problem is so serious, that the Tanzanian government has resorted to relocating albinos to different centers in order to protect them from acts of violence. Many of them are children.

These centers are meant to be a short term residence. But for many, it has turned into their permanent home. Here, children also receive an education. 

MATONANGE MAGESE
Father of Albino boy 
"I'm so happy that he lives there, because if he had stayed with us, I would have lost him."

Many are not so lucky. Between the years 2000 and 2013, there were 139 registered attacks on albinos. Among them is 10 year old Mwigulu, who last year suffered the amputation of his left arm.

MWIGULU MATONANGE 
Ten-year old Albino Boy
"My friend, also called Mwigulu, and I were walking in the fields herding cows.  We saw two men walking fast. I told my friend let's walk past them quickly.  They told us they had lost a dark brown cow and asked us to help them.  We did. Shortly after they began throwing stones at my friend. Then one of the men removed his hat and covered my face. I couldn't see. That is when he cut my arm and ran off.”

However, there is hope for the survivors of these acts of violence. Some of them are receiving help through the UN Fund for Victims of Torture.

ALICIA LONDONO 
UN Human Rights
"Through the use of the UN Fund for Victims of Torture, funds are provided directly to an organization which provides psychological assistance and prosthetic work to victims and survivors, as well as family members.”

Despite efforts being made to protect and assist albinos, many insist the true solution lies in education. They assure that only by disproving some of the myths will they be able to freely roam through their villages once again. 


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Up: MPI