WEEKLY HOT TOPIC: Using radio to stop prejudice against albinism | Children's Radio Foundation

We use radio to amplify youth voices across Africa, giving them the skills and tools to speak about their lives

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Youth reporters Sebius Andrea and Letsia Joseph in Mwanza, Tanzania

For this week’s hot topic CRF Trainer George Githuma shares a dispatch from his trip to Tanzania. Please share your thoughts with us below!

Kasulu is a town in Kigoma province west of Tanzania on the border of Tanzania and DRC. In collaboration with UNICEF Tanzania, CRF established a Young Reporters Network in 2011. The first time I went to Tanzania to train, upon landing it was clear that this was one of the more remote towns in Tanzania. The airstrip was not tarmacked and everything at the booking office was done manually. This however did not pose a challenge, if anything it reaffirmed that we were empowering the young people who indeed needed our services.

On the first day of the training I noted that, Sebius Andrea, 12 years old and Letsia Joseph, 16 years old – both with albinism – were not allowed to board at the training venue. On enquiring further, I was informed that this was for ‘security’ purposes. Sebius and Letsia live in a high-security institution specifically created for albino children in Kasulu. In most of Western and Northern Tanzania, albinos body parts are highly sort for by locals to be used in witchcraft. The people here believe that with these body parts one can become very rich. This has lead to many killings and decapitations of people with albinism in the area. Children are especially prized because they are believed to be pure. As such, the government of Tanzania with the help of donors have established high security institutions to protect people with albinism.

“I have been living in the institution for the last three years and since I went in I have never gone home again for fear of my life,” Sebius told me. “I am happy that I am safe but at the same time I feel like a prisoner, I cannot have a normal life like other children,” Letisia added.  This was very heartbreaking for me, to see children having to live in seclusion because of the negative cultural practices of their communities. When I asked what they hoped to achieve with the training, both looked forward to educating their community to stop the negative practices against people with albinism.

I am sure that the radio training will work to give these two young people a voice to speak out on these ills in their community. And maybe one day, this community will change and give back Letisia and Sebius their freedom.

 

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