1st Place / People

Under the Same Sun

  • Photographer
    Marinka Masséus
  • Company/Studio
    Marinka Masséus Photography
  • Date of Photograph
    2016

This photo series was created in collaboration with the ‘Josephat Torner Foundation’ to raise awareness about the circumstances of people with albinism living in Tanzania. In Tanzania, when you have albinism, you are thought to be evil. There even is a price on the head of children with albinism since killing a person with albinism is considered to bring good luck. The fears and superstitions surrounding albinism run very deep in Tanzanian society. So deep that many women who give birth to a child with albinism are told to kill the baby at birth. If she refuses, she and the baby will become outcasts. Many children with albinism are denied the most fundamental of human rights. They are despised and taught that they are evil. Because of the killings, many children with albinism live in camps. Rejected by their families, they are secluded, kept apart, hidden, often mistreated and shamed.

Story

This photo series was created in collaboration with the Josephat Torner Foundation and ‘Stichting Afrikaanse Albino's’ to raise awareness about the circumstances of people with albinism living in Africa, specifically Tanzania. In Africa albinism is widely prevalent. Much more so than in the rest of the world. In Tanzania, when you have albinism, you are thought to be evil. There even is a price on the head of children with albinism since killing a person with albinism is considered to bring good luck. The fears and superstitions surrounding albinism run very deep in Tanzanian society. So deep that many women who give birth to a child with albinism are told to kill the baby at birth. If she refuses, she and the baby will become outcasts. Many children with albinism are denied the most fundamental human rights. They are despised and taught that they are evil, that their existence is a curse. They live in constant fear of brutal attacks since it is believed that their body parts bring good fortune. Many of those who have been attacked are young children. In December of 2014, a 4 year-old girl with albinism named Pendo Emmanuelle, was taken from her mother’s arms. Police have yet to find her body. In February 2015, Yohana Bahati, a boy of just 18 months, was taken from his home, his mother’s face slashed with machetes as she tried to protect her son. She narrowly survived. Days later, little Yohana’s body was recovered from a forest, where he was found face down in the mud with his arms and legs hacked off. Because of killings like this, many children with albinism now live in camps. Rejected by and cut-off from their families, they live separate from society in order to keep them safe. In some of the camps the living circumstances are horrible, with even basic care lacking. And this separation doesn’t solve the problems. It doesn’t help with integration. It doesn’t give them a chance to grow into valued and respected members of society. They are secluded, kept apart, hidden, often mistreated and shamed. That’s why the mission of the Josephat Torner Foundation is social acceptance and inclusion.

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