Societal ignorance about the condition, as well as long-standing beliefs associated with witchcraft, lead to the dehumanization of people with albinism. It is widely believed that the body parts of people with albinism, used by witch doctors in magical charms and potions, bring wealth, health and good luck. This leads to brutal attacks resulting in maiming, death and the black market trafficking of albino body parts.
Since 2006, more than 300 attacks have been recorded in 25 countries, and likely many more have gone unrecorded.
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Who we are
“I have a dream that one day people with albinism will take their rightful place throughout every level of society, and that the days of discrimination against persons with albinism will be a faint memory - EVERYWHERE!” - Peter Ash, Founder & CEO
Under The Same Sun is passionately committed to social inclusion and seeing an end to the general and sometimes deadly discrimination against persons with albinism (PWA). We exist to promote, via advocacy and education, the wellbeing of PWA who in many parts of the world are marginalized, misunderstood, abused and at times mutilated and killed because of their genetic condition.
At UTSS we aredriven by the belief that all persons have intrinsic value as each is created in God’s image. Accordingly, all persons are worthy of love, respect and, above all, dignity.
While UTSS is active at the UN and globally, much of our current focus is on the crisis faced by PWA in Tanzania. We have developed offices there with a highly innovative and effective approach to this issue. This is beginning to bring about the societal transformation needed to stop the stigma based attacks and killings. From there, UTSS is reaching across Africa and the world to stimulate a movement that roots out stigma and discrimination by planting the seeds of empowerment for people living with albinism.
To date, UTSS greatest success comes through our Education Program which has seen several hundred PWA, mostly abandoned and displaced children, relocated into some of Tanzania’s finest inclusive private boarding schools. THEY WILL BE FUTURE MODELS IN THEIR SOCIETY OF WHAT PERSONS WITH ALBINISM CAN BE WHEN GIVEN AN OPERTUNITY. This could not have happened without 2 amazing teams which have been gathered to form our offices in Tanzania and Canada. The production and distribution of our documentary will forever capture and honour the story of PWA in Tanzania while dispelling the discriminatory myths and informing people about the genetic condition of albinism. It casts the LIGHT of dignity on all persons with albinism and is an amazing advocacy and education tool. There has also been a significant drop in both the attacks and killing of PWA in Tanzania since 2007. While this gives us great delight, the profound discrimination that gave rise to the killings is still deeply rooted in African culture. Our dream is that a day will come when persons with albinism in Tanzania will take their rightful place in every aspect of society and that the days of discrimination will be a faint memory. While there are traces of hope now, we will likely not see this day in our lifetime except in our dreams.
Friends of UTSS
Dr. Rebecca Kammer
UTSS cannot put into words our gratitude for the gift that Dr. Kammer (Becky) has given to people with albinism in Tanzania. She has tirelessly offered Low Vision Clinics, met with every student in our Education Program and provided glasses and other low vision devices. This will profoundly change their educational experience, their lives and ultimately the discriminatory attitudes against albinism in Tanzanian culture.
Albinism Fellowship of Australia
The Albinism Fellowship of Australia (AFA) is a national, non-profit organization established in 2005. The fellowship is run by volunteers who all have been personally touched by albinism in some way.The AFA’s key purpose is to provide support, education and fellowship to those with albinism, parents of children with albinism as well as their families and friends. While the albinism community in Australia is only small, the AFA provides a united voice to encourage productive developments and support within business, government and media.
The Canadian High Commission in Tanzania
The Canadian High Commission in Dar es Salaam generously donated $20,000 to help launch the UTSS Radio Campaign Project.
Discover Albinism Uganda
Discover Albinism Uganda is a U.S. based nonprofit working with the Uganda Albino's Association to end descrimination agains persons with albinism.
Express Lens Lab
UTSS is eternally grateful to Brian Goldstone and his company, Express Lens Lab, for the generous supply of optical lenses to meet the low vision needs of persons with albinism in Tanzania. This will profoundly change the educational experience of the students with albinism in our Education Scholarship Fund program. As education changes their lives, the discriminatory attitudes of their fellow countrymen will be challenged, as will the role of persons with albinism in Tanzanian culture.