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Changing the way PWAs are perceived in Tanzania.

Of the challenges people with albinism face in Tanzania, the most intangible yet impactful is stigma and discrimination in their own villages. In 2013, we asked PWAs to prioritize their needs, and they agreed their number one challenge was their families and other villagers not believing they are “just people.” They argued that this was the root cause of all their other problems: the belief that they were a curse, somehow supernatural, and maybe not even human beings, made it easier to believe that their body parts were “magical.” It also made it harder to get an education, access healthcare, and find work. “What would help?” we asked. The answer was unanimous: village education.


We partner with locals to run village workshops designed to build community understanding of albinism.

We partnered with the Tanzania Albinism Society in the city of Musoma to develop a series of village workshops designed to build community understanding of albinism. We called the project Watu Kama Sisi, Swahili for “People Like Us."  We designed and produced and participatory video and accompanying curriculum with the goal of “changing minds, changing hearts, and changing actions.” The video focuses on three main messages:

Change minds:  Dr. Nelson Rowwa, a Tanzanian doctor trained in Western medicine and two traditional healers, Yusufu Nyakiriga Nyakilangani and Ally Hassani, emphasize the physical fact that albinism is inherited, dispel myths associated with the condition, and emphasize that in every other way, people with albinism are “people like us.” Finally, the traditional healers delivered a harsh message to villagers watching: “Don’t be deceived by our brothers who tell you body parts will make your rich; it is a lie.”

Change hearts:  The video also introduces seven people with albinism from all walks of life, all with different accomplishments and challenges. The palpable pain caused by the stigma and discrimination they had experienced help the villagers get past their fears and even feel compassion for their neighbors with albinism.  

Change actions: The combination of setting the facts straight about albinism and what causes it, together with identifying with real people with albinism, were a powerful combination.  Each workshop generated intense interest and many questions. At the end we brainstorm with villagers to come up with one thing they would do differently, based on what they had learned.

Between 2015 and 2018, we trained more than 4,400 people in 63 villages, with an average of 95 villagers attending each meeting.

To learn more about our community education programs, read our blog {LINK HERE}


Community education is a low cost, high impact way to fight stigma and discrimination against persons with albinism. Contact us for more information or questions.

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