Thought to be magic or to eventually bring good fortune, albinos in Tanzania have been under recent and heavy attack according to the Huffington Post.
Since 2006, more than 100 people in the albino community have experienced assaults. Seventy-one of these attacks have ended in death.
“Angel’s father led a group to attack her. He had wanted to attack her since she was 3 months old,” Bestida Simon, mother of an infant with albinism, told the Huffington Post. “He thought if they’d take Angel to a witch doctor as a sacrifice that they could get rich.”
Two months ago, parliament stepped up to aid those suffering from killings and violent amputations carried out by witch doctors. Tanzania Albino Society program officer Severin Edward informed the Huffington Post that prime minister Mizengo Pinda has agreed to expedite court cases involving such attacks. Funds will also be allocated to services for the albino community. In addition, safe houses like Kabanga Protectorate Center were established to shelter those with no other alternative.
This is where Simon and daughter Angel Salvatory have lived for the past four years.
“These centers came in response to the killings. It’s how the government has chosen to respond. The government has basically abandoned these kids,” Peter Ash, founder of albinism advocacy organization Under The Same Sun, told the Post. “There is no long-term plan.”
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Ash doesn’t have much hope in terms of government tackling internal issues at theses facilities. Many have complained that living quarters in the centers are similar to camps or prison. And to make matters worse, emotional and sexual abuse reports have been issued.
Perhaps the portion of salary members of the parliament have committed to donate to albinism will help in addressing the problem. According to the Huffington Post, one out of every 1,400 people in Tanzania are affected by albinism as compared to the one in 20,000 global average.
“The people in the village said that the children are not normal people, that they are like devils,” said Helen Sekalima, another mother of a child with albinism. She also lives at Kabanga Protectorate Center. Though threats are minimal at Kabanga, Sekalima and others are uncertain about the risk of living outside of the parliament centers as tradition and tribalism in Tanzania are backed with just as much as belief and faith as initiatives implemented by the government.