Under the Same Sun: Educating Children with Albinism in Tanzania
Access to education for the 15,000 school age children with albinism in Tanzania is limited. With the need to overcome significant, and often misunderstood visual impairment, as well as daunting health risks due to this genetic condition, these children also suffer abhorrent discrimination. Discrimination stemming from deep cultural beliefs lead to witchcraft related practices, threatening their lives and often forcing them into hiding.
WFCF has partnered with Under The Same Sun (UTSS) to provide $3,301 USD to purchase textbooks and reading stands for 70 students with albinism in Tanzania.
Through cooperation with UTSS, who have rescued hundreds of “displaced children,” WFCF’s contribution to the UTSS Education Program has provided reading stands and books needed to assist children with visual impairment issues that come with albinism.
Adjustable wooden reading stands enable students to lean papers and textbooks in various angles to improve sight. For students with low vision, this allows them to see their work closely without having to bend over to peer at the words on a page.
Without reading stands, these students with albinism were regularly reporting headaches as well as back and neck pain from straining to focus on their school work.
Having received these stands, students may now comfortably continue their studies and can easily finish their exams, which require many hours of reading and writing.
55 reading stands have been purchased to date. Of those 55, 48 have been delivered to students in the Lake Zone in Tanzania. 15 stands remain to be purchased, those along with the seven remaining stands are to be distributed to students soon.
There are 37 orphaned students with low vision in the UTSS Education Program who are in levels where they must write national exams this year. Through the WCFC donation, UTSS could purchase the textbooks that these students need to complete the exams.
Prior to the funding, students had to share textbooks. While this might not appear to be an important issue, given their visual impairment, it is difficult for students to share books with each other.
Now that each student has their own books, they can easily read the print clearly and study effectively for those important exams! The students were overjoyed when their books were delivered.
This project’s specific mission, to enable orphaned students with albinism in Tanzania, will provide long-lasting effects on the lives of many children. Visual impairment is but one of the obstacles these children face, and by working with the UTSS Education Program, WFCF has given the gift of knowledge to 70 students. Their hard work for an education will pay off, and using reading stands and new textbooks, they can strive to get the best marks possible!