Albinism, the African myth versus the scientific justification

Africa, Senegal.  People with albinism in Africa, are segregated from their local communities. Children born under this genetic condition are culturally unappreciated. A social malediction is how people under these features are seen. Albinism is a recessive trait, the lack of melanin privileges people to promote false traditional and cultural thoughts against them. Local village witch doctors are respected however, the myths fencing their dignity and honor encloses an atrocious deception.

It is believed people under this condition are beings with magical powers therefore; tortured, persecuted, and murdered. Mundunugu’s are known to pay high rates for their victims limbs, the extremities are used to  prepare potions and rituals to be sold as a charm for luck and protection.

 

StatIMG_5816 (1)istics displays women giving birth to a child with albinism are damned, threatened, and discriminated. 80% of marriages end in divorce, without a choice, subjective mothers are forced to leave the house.  The wives are only reinstated back to the family nucleus if the newborn is abandoned, in which in most cases the curse returns. It takes two to make one, parents are unaware that in order for a child to be born with the recessive trait, both parents must carry the gene.

Organizations like ANPRAS (Senegalese National Alliance for People with Albinism Promotion and Insertion), have set foot on the ground. Established on March 2004, the management has initiated an educational awareness plan for the community, by developing activities and obtaining number ratios for the albinism population.

Lamentably, children are not enrolled in schools due to cultural misconceptions. The figures helped for an educational insertion program, which started with 2 children on March 2004, leading to a current net of 85 enrolled students.  With a challenged avenue from all directions, ANPRAS, has been able to promote diverse activities and conferences with a scientific approach with conclusive results. Teachers are being trained to be pedagogically ready to accommodate and assist the children with their sight limitation  and special needs.

ANPRAS, realized that many of its members were deceased with skin complications due to skin cancer. In 2007, a medical program was designed to provide medical attention,  it was unfortunate not to save every life nonetheless, the program became successful with a cure rate of 50 people under treatment.  Progress has been made however, for many  the only flip side of endurance for people with albinism is to beg on the streets in a continent where the reputation of high climate and UV densities outstrips  120 degrees Fahrenheit. More than an appeared survival method, it is a forced health suicide by becoming victims of their worse enemies, the sun and society.

 

 

 

Lina Escobar
Studied neuro-muscular studies at Staten Island College. Lina Escobar, is a member of the J. Luce Foundation Global Leadership Initiative. She is originally from Palmira, Colombia. When Lina-attended BMCC, she was the first person to open a branch Lions Club. “MiraVe”, Lions Branch Club provided breakfast to underprivileged children in her hometown. From reading to the elderly, volunteering in the ER department ,and planting 5,000 pine trees in Marine Park, writing collaborations with Colombian writers and directors have been rendered through the embassy of Colombia in New York.