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.
Legal history was made in UK on December 23, 2015, when a man with albinism by the name Mr. Christian Eric Tchidjo from Cameroon was granted refugee status.
Legal history was made in Belgium when on July 27, 2015, Mrs. Konate and her 6 year old son with albinism by the name of Aboubacar from Guinea were granted asylum.
Legal history was made yet again in the USA on June 17, 2015, when a man with albinism from Senegal was granted asylum in New York City, New York.
Legal history was made in Ireland in the first week of June, 2015, when a man with albinism from DRC who wishes to remain anonymous was granted secured permanent residency through a non-asylum process. He suffered severe persecution and untreated skin cancer in his native country.
Legal history continues to be made in the USA when, on December 13, 2014,a man with albinism from Nigeria was granted asylum in Phoenix, Arizona.
Legal history was made for the second time in Israel in October of 2014 when a Nigerian family was granted refugee status because their young son David had albinism. The Population and Immigration Bureau of The Internal Affairs Ministry decided to grant the Nigerian family refugee status due to the threats their child with albinism faces in Africa saying; “In Nigeria albinos' lives are in danger”.
Legal history continues to be made in France when in March of 2014 a Cameroonian mother who’s infant with albinism was granted asylum under a decree known as “parent, child refugee”. The mother feared for the life of her child in Cameroon, where her community members attempted to kill the baby for ritual purposes during local elections.
Legal history was made in Canada on June 4, 2013 when Amadou Diallo, a man with albinism from the African country of Guinea was granted Permanent Residency status. Originally, Amadou fled Guinea to Norway and from 2008 to 2012 urgently sought asylum there. He was held in a refugee camp for 3 of these years during which time his asylum request was denied 4 times even though 2 persons with albinism had been murdered in his home country. UTSS worked extensively with Amadou’s case during this time, providing written testimony on the plight of PWA in Guinea. We also worked with the Canadian government and on July 16, 2012 he was granted a work permit and moved to Canada. On Tuesday, June 04, 2013, the country of Canada received Amadou with open arms by offering him permanent residency status.
Legal history was made in Spain on May 12, 2011 when person with albinism from Guinea was granted asylum.
Legal history was made in Israel on October 1, 2011 when an Ivory Coast family with an infant daughter with albinism was granted refugee status. The minister of interior signed the final asylum documents on November 6, 2011.
Legal history was made in the Spanish Canary Islands on December 29, 2009 when a man with albinism from Mali, was granted asylum.
Legal history was made in France when on June 10, 2005, a man with albinism from Mali was granted refugee status on the grounds that he had good reason to fear persecution, lack of safety and death.
Burundi provides refugee status in 2002 for DRC born Mr. Pascal Matabishi, a 32-year-old man with albinism who fled his homeland where he was at risk.
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.