Dutch award-winning photographer Marinka Masséus created the photo series ‘Under the Same Sun’ to raise awareness about the horrible circumstances of people with albinism (PWA) in Tanzania. Her aim is to show their beauty and share a message of acceptance and inclusion.
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.
Because of the killings, 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. They are secluded, kept apart, hidden, often mistreated and shamed.
Besides the superstitions, PWA in Tanzania faces another threat. Their skin and eyes are without any pigmentation, which means that they have no natural protection against the harsh African sun. This results in severe burns, every day over and over again, which in time turn to brown spots (usually in the face) and to skin cancer.
Dedicated organizations are working hard to get sunscreen to Africa to help protect PWA – organizations like “Under the Same Sun” in Canada or “Stichting Afrikaanse Albino’s” and “Stichting Inside the Same” in the Netherlands. They need all the support they can get.