UTSS began as a meeting of the heart, mind and vision of Peter Ash and Vicky Ntetema. Vicky was a journalist and Tanzania's BBC bureau chief, and Peter a former pastor and Canadian businessman with albinism, whose professional life was in transition. It was Vicky's report in July of 2008 that broke the story to the world of the gruesome and fatal attacks on persons with albinism in Tanzania.
Shortly after her report, Peter got in touch with Vicky. They quickly realized their shared calling to battle the deadly discrimination faced by people with albinism and to help empower those living with albinism in Tanzania and beyond.
UTSS, a Canadian registered charity, was born later in 2008 by founder and CEO Peter Ash. In 2009 UTSS registered as a U.S. 501 (c)(3) charity and as a Tanzanian non-government organization (NGO) opening its field office in Dar es Salaam headed by Vicky Ntetema until her retirement in May of 2018. The Important work of UTSS in Tanzania continues under the capable leadership of our acting Executive Director, Ester Rwela. Ester has been with us serving in a variety of capacities, and most recently as part of the management team in the role of Program Manager.
Today, in its Canadian headquarters, there are 1 full-time and 7 part-time staff, including 3 who have albinism. UTSS Tanzania has 20 staff and interns, all Tanzanian, and more than half have albinism.
UTSS has played a leading role at the United Nations and the African Union in helping to form and pass resolutions and reports on the prevention of attacks and the discrimination against persons with albinism around the world.
United Nations and African Union Human Rights Councils pass historic resolutions on Persons with Albinism recognizing the discrimination and condemning the atrocities they face in many countries.
UN marks June 13, 2015 as the first International Albinism Awareness Day.
UN appoints first ever independent expert to bring focus on the issue of violence and discrimination facing people with albinism around the world.