7 February 2014

Tanzania: Albino Body Urges More Support for Their Cause

THE Tanzania Albino Society (TAS) has asked the private sector to extend support to various communities of people with albinism to help them handle their vulnerabilities.

Tanzania Albino Society (TAS) Secretary General, Ms Zihada Msembo said in Dar es Salaam on Thursday that their community has been facing harassment and killings in some parts of the country since 2008 and asked business firms to offer a helping hand to ease their plight.

She said it was important to reach out to people with albinism as the hunt for them by unscrupulous people was affecting them psychologically, with some of them having to abandon their income-generating activities.

She was speaking during an event at Ocean Road Cancer Institute where a Dar es Salaam-based law firm, Kibuuka Law Chambers, donated sun screen products and other personal effects to the society.

"We call on more people from the private sector to come out and reach out to our community. Thousands of needy albinos can benefit from more assistance through the good will of the private setor," she said.

Managing partner of the legal firm, Mr Paul Kibuuka, said they decided to make the donation in order to enhance healthy living among people with albinism as part of the firm's corporate social Responsibility (CSR), adding that this was part of their programme to implement their public involvement initiatives.

Mr Kibuuka said that the donation was part of his firm's support to address the challenges albinos faced.

Sun screen is a cream used by albinos to protect themselves from the sun's direct rays to prevent cancer of the skin, which they are naturally prone to.

He said persons living with albinism should be seen as any other human beings, adding that "there should be a feeling of oneness."

For her part, Ms Msembo commended the firm for its effort to promote the welfare of albinos as most people with albinism were not able to buy the lotion.

According to the 2012 census, Tanzania has about 5,200 people with albinism, with most of them living in the Lake Zone regions. Albinism is a rare non-contagious, genetically-inherited condition occurring in both genders regardless of ethnicity.

TAS aims to educate albinos about their rights and expose albino killings that reached a peak in 2009.

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