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The Plight of People with Albinism – Social Discrimination

Yesterday, I wrote about the epidemic skin cancer rates among people with albinism (PWA) in East Africa.  Beyond this, PWA’s in East Africa also face social discrimination that is far reaching and fueled by myth.

Myths surrounding PWA’s in East Africa

  • PWAs are believed to be ghosts, and never die.
  • A PWA is a curse from God or dead ancestors.
  • Albinism is contagious.
  • PWAs are born to women who sleep with a white man or a European ghost.  As a result, the fathers of PWAs often abandon the mother and child.
The Resulting Social Discrimination
  • Employers will not hire PWAs.
  • PWAs are not afforded the same social or physical contact that others experience.
  • Families do not educate their children born with albinism.
As you can see, Tanzanians with albinism are outcast and separated from society.  Beyond fighting to remain healthy, PWAs in Tanzania are forced to fight myth and absurd belief systems that are causing their discrimination.
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