Children and adults with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa face multiple challenges which restrict their daily lives. These include visual impairments and extreme vulnerability to skin infections and cancer because they lack melanin in their skin. As a result, almost all die from skin cancer before the age of 40.
People with albinism also face negative attitudes and misunderstanding from their communities and persecution by unscrupulous individuals in search of power and money, because in many parts of East Africa it's believed their body parts bring great wealth. Limbs, hair and nails are in high demand by witch doctors, and because of this people with albinism often live in constant fear of their lives.
Such challenges mean that people with albinism are often excluded from education and have limited opportunities to earn a sustainable income. They lack access to basic medical care and most don’t have the knowledge or money needed to adequately protect themselves from the sun.
Advantage Africa’s project in eastern Uganda is supporting more than 1,000 people with albinism to improve all aspects of their lives including access to improved livelihoods and access to dermatology, vision and other health care services. We are working in partnership with the Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism (SNUPA) to help children and adults with albinism to feel safe, accepted and included within their schools and communities.
Our dermatological support in partnership with Ultrasun UK includes access to protective resources including high sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats along with regular skin clinics for 1,000 children and adults with albinism.
We have introduced cryosurgery, using liquid nitrogen to remove pre-cancerous lesions from the skin of people with albinism, for the first time in Uganda. This vital work is stopping skin cancer in its tracks!
The project aims to debunk myths and raise awareness of the needs and potential of people with albinism so that they can avoid abuse, access education and employment, help themselves and overcome the misunderstanding and prejudice that causes them to be so disadvantaged.
If you'd like to donate towards this project, please visit our Albinism Appeal or have a look at our BBC Radio 4 Appeal page. You can also donate to our skin cancer prevention work using different currencies via GlobalGiving. Thank you so much for your support.
To explore different aspects of this project in more detail please visit the following pages:
Improving Life Opportunities for Children with Albinism (research project)