Pius improves disability rights in Tanzania

16th June 2016

After volunteering with Raleigh as a Team Leader in 2014, Tanzanian alumnus Pius decided to act on his passion for improving disability rights for those with albinism. In his guest blog, Pius talks about his role as an active citizen and the work he has done with Tanzanian NGO Tengeneza Generation (TEG).

“Before volunteering with Raleigh, I had limited knowledge about international development. Through my experience as a volunteer, I was inspired to become an active global citizen. I was inspired to carry out humanitarian activities and am particularly passionate about fighting for the rights of people with disabilities. I believe each person has a right to live in peace regardless of their gender, religion, or abilities. However, some people in my country don’t share these beliefs.

 

Pius blog - Charlie 2

The treatment of people with albinism is a major issue in Tanzania. Albinism (commonly known as PWA) is a rare genetic condition that limits the body’s ability to process melanin, which results in the loss of pigmentation in the skin, eyes and hair. In Tanzania, some people believe that PWA body parts can cure or solve certain problems, which has resulted in the mutilation and sometimes deaths of those with albinism. In January 2015, Under the Same Sun  reported that there were 212 attacks on people with albinism in 2014, and even more shockingly, there were 136 killings.

Societal violence is not the only problem faced by those with albinism.  Skin cancer is another major issue.  People with albinism have melanin deficiency which means their bodies lack the natural defences against UVA.  This has led to 98% of PWA in Tanzania to die of skin cancer before the age of 40.

Pius blog - sun cream

In 2014, Tengeneza Generation launched a campaign called Tupendane (“Love one another”) to raise awareness about unjust acts of violence towards people with albinism.  We have worked hard to fundraise for the cause, and Raleigh has helped us by encouraging UK volunteers to donate sun cream (thank you to all that have!).

A number of Raleigh alumni from the UK have also joined the campaign after being inspired by our work. They have assisted us with planning, documentation and awareness raising, which has been valuable.

TEG has also been working closely with a Buhangija disability centre, in the Shinyanga region of Tanzania.  There are 450 children with disabilities in the centre, 270 of which have albinism. The centre wasn’t originally for PWA children, however  after a sharp rise in the number of killings in 2009, the protection of people with albinism became much more prevalent.  All funds raised by TEG are donated to Buhangija, and in the future, TEG plans to help the centre by raising funds to provide protective clothing such as long sleeve shirts.”


You can donate educational materials, long sleeved clothes, and monetary donation’s to the work of Tengeneza Generation.  For more information on the project, visit www.tegtz.org

 

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