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Asante Mariamu is dedicated to ending the slaughter of people with albinism in East Africa; to bringing about the swift prosecution and conviction of their killers; and to providing albinos with life-saving education and supplies for the prevention of skin cancer.
Asante Mariamu is a grassroots campaign dedicated to increasing awareness about the immediate and long-term mortal threats to people living with albinism in East Africa. In Tanzania and parts of East Africa witch doctors promote the belief that body parts of people with albinism can be made into potions to bring wealth or luck. As a result, a deadly black market has emerged where over the last two years more than 50 adults and children with albinism have been murdered by mercenaries who sell their body parts to witch doctors. Consequently hundreds of children with albinism are living in fear for their lives in rural outposts without their families or access to life-saving medical treatment. Prosecution and conviction of the murderers are infrequent and unpredictable due to long-held cultural biases against albinos. We believe that the killing and mutilation of people with albinism constitutes a form of genocide.
In many parts of East Africa, people with albinism are routinely shunned by their communities and excluded from society. They are denied education and information about preventing skin cancer, and have no means of protecting themselves from excess sunlight. The average person with albinism in East Africa dies by age 30 from skin cancer, and only 2 percent of people with albinism live to age 40.
Many thanks or asante sana in Swahili, for exploring our story, and we hope that you will consider adding your voice to the growing community of people calling for justice for people with albinism in East Africa.
- Elizabeth ODell
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