Our Community

Shade’s Outreach Coordinator, Martina, interviewed a member of our community. Her answers provide insight into the way of life in Shinyanga, Tanzania, where you will find Shade’s Campus.

Creating Change

Our latest social media series was called Creating Change. Over the course of seven posts, we shared Shade’s strategy for creating change for people with albinism in Tanzania. Our three main focuses are education, advocacy, and faith, and we dug a little deeper into each of those to answer some of your questions. Here’s a recap, in case you missed it!

What are some ways to create change for persecuted people with albinism? (1/7)

Education + Advocacy + Faith = the Shade approach

📓 Education opens the door to a brighter future.
📣 Advocacy paves the way for change
✝️ Faith emboldens us to walk as children of God.

Stay tuned this week for our #CreatingChange series. Now that we know the facts (see www.shadetz.org/2020/08/albinism-101), let’s create change for PWA.

Why is education important, especially for children with albinism? (2/7)

📓 Education equips children for bright futures.

‼️ But, getting a quality education isn’t always easy for children with albinism. They are often kept home by family members, either to protect them or because they believe it’s a waste to invest in a person with albinism. If sent to school, they often are bullied and face the challenges associated with low-vision. Often teachers aren’t equipped to accommodate their impairment.

👨‍🏫 Shade School will be a place where children with albinism can have access to quality education. More on that tomorrow…

What is the vision for Shade School? (3/7)

💬 The motto of Shade School is: Raising Leaders, Changing the World. We aim to help children achieve their full potential and become change-makers.

We have a focus on:
💯 Quality – an English-medium school with top of the line educational standards
👩🏿‍🦽 Inclusivity – children with and without albinism, or any other disability, are welcome! (more on that tomorrow…)
🔐 Safety – security and systems in place that create a safe place for students with albinism
🤸🏽‍♂️ Holistic Care – caring for the student beyond in the classroom
✝️ Faith – embodying and sharing the good news of the Gospel

Why should there be inclusion in education? (4/7)

〽️ People with albinism face ostracization. They are often separated—in physical proximity and educational opportunity—from children without albinism. This separation perpetuates the misunderstanding that people with albinism are different, lesser, and incapable of achieving.

👫🏼 Children without albinism at Shade School will have the opportunity to grow up knowing differently. They will study, live, and become friends with their peers with albinism. They will be the next generation that knows the truth and continues to pass it on, ultimately dispelling the myths and misunderstandings about albinism.

💯 Inclusion benefits everyone. Diversity enriches us all

Why is advocacy important? (5/7)

📣 Advocacy brings awareness, and awareness is the first step towards change.

👍 Understanding that people with albinism are just like everyone else—apart from two differences: low vision and reduced pigmentation—will lead to a realization that they deserve the same rights and opportunities.

What does advocacy look like? What can I do to advocate for people with albinism? (6/7)

🇹🇿 In Tanzania, advocacy looks like seminars, community outreach, inclusive education, radio broadcasting, people with albinism in leadership, and support to people with albinism who are working in the community.

🇺🇸 In the US, advocacy looks like: speaking about the persecution of people with albinism, sharing information, prayer, and financial support for programs that are creating change, and….posts like these!

So you want to be an advocate?
📣 Speak about albinism to your networks or ask a Shade rep to do so (even virtually!)
👍 Like, share & commenting spreads the reach of social media posts
📰 Educate yourself! Start at www.shadetz.org and sign up for our newsletters there
🙏 Pray for hearts to change toward PWA, violence would end, truth would prevail
💲 Give financially so that work can continue at www.shadetz.org

Why is faith important in creating change? (7/7)

✝️ We believe that true transformation will come when all people experience the Father’s heart of love for them, the forgiveness of Jesus given to them, and the empowering work of the Holy Spirit guiding them. When faced by the power of God’s love, violence and prejudice against people with albinism will not stand.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 All of Shade’s work is infused with the Gospel message. Our Campus aims to be a community centered on family in Christ, reflecting His heart in Psalm 68:6.

To stay informed and continue to advocate with us, please like and follow Shade on social mediaThis is a simple way to make a difference for people with albinism in Tanzania.

Albinism 101

This past week on social media, we shared a series called Albinism 101. The goal of these photos and facts was to provide information about albinism by answering some common questions. Being informed and sharing that information is a powerful form of advocacy for people with albinism- a people group that faces discrimination, attack, and health challenges. Here’s a recap, in case you missed it!

What is albinism? Is it common? (1/6)

🤍 Albinism is a genetically inherited condition resulting in reduced pigment in the skin, eyes, and hair.

🇹🇿 Albinism is much more common in Tanzania than in the west. Approximately one in every 1,400 children born in Tanzania is born with albinism. This is the highest rate in all of Africa and a significantly higher rate than in Europe and North America, where approximately one in 20,000 people has albinism.

👩🏿‍🏫 This week, we will be sharing some facts about albinism. Consider it your Albinism101.

Why do you say ‘albinism’ and not ‘albino’? (2/6)

👍🏻 By saying ‘person with albinism,’ you are putting the person ahead of their condition. They are people first, in the same way that it is more appropriate to say ‘person who is blind’ rather than ‘blind person.’

Do people with albinism face health challenges because of their condition? (3/6)

🕶 Yes. Albinism affects the eye, causing visual impairment. Many people with albinism are legally blind and all have extreme sensitivity to light.

☀️ Due to a lack of melanin in their skin, people with albinism are very susceptible to skin cancer, and early stages of skin cancer are often seen in children. A lack of awareness on how a person with albinism protects him/herself from sun exposure and possible inaccessibility to sunscreen only worsen their health issues.

What challenges do people with albinism face? (4/6)

🚫 Discrimination & Rejection. They are often stared at, made fun of, and rejected by their peers. Many husbands abandon their wives when they give birth to a child with albinism. Many newborns with albinism are killed at birth. Attempts to protect children with albinism may lead to them being locked away and being robbed of a normal childhood and education. Adults with albinism find it hard to become employed.

🚫 Superstition, Witchcraft & Attacks. In Tanzania, albinism is misunderstood. Witchdoctors take advantage of this, spreading misinformation that people with albinism possess magical qualities and that their body parts can be used in rituals to bring wealth, power, and luck. This leads to attacks and killings of people with albinism for their body parts.

How many people with albinism have been attacked? And where? (5/6)

🛑 More than 520 attacks on people with albinism have been recorded since 2006.

🛑 Tanzania has the largest recorded number of attacks at over 170.

🛑 There have been attacks recorded in 28 countries, some of which operate within a black market for the body parts of people with albinism.

Why is this year different than others? (6/6)

🗳 It is an election year in Tanzania. Election years are particularly unsafe for people with albinism.

❌ People who are running for office may turn to witchcraft in the hopes of increasing their odds of winning.

❌ This, coupled with people who are in desperate circumstances and are willing to harvest body parts for money, leads to a network of people invested in the persecution of people with albinism.

❌ According to the U.N., the sale of a person with albinism’s body can fetch up to $75,000.

To stay informed and continue to advocate with us, please like and follow Shade on social media. This is a simple way to make a difference for people with albinism in Tanzania.

He’s a Fighter!

By: Susan Grubbs

When I say that three-year-old Michael is a fighter, I mean that in more ways than one.

Michael was birthed on the dirty, concrete floor of his home, a converted animal stable in Tanzania. Fast forward three years, and Michael is enrolled in Shade School.

His first week of school, while I was there in January, was spent fleeing the classroom in tears (I mentioned he was a fighter!). Soon he figured out that if he stuck around, he’d get to play games, sing songs and eat snacks. He warmed up to the love and encouragement of his teacher, Madam Debora, and decided to stay put in his little plastic chair.

Michael is the first one in his family with the opportunity to receive a quality education: to learn in a positive environment, have healthy meal supplements, and know that Jesus loves him. Each day, he gets to put on his Shade School shirt on which is written: Raising Leaders, Changing the World. He may not know it yet, but he is becoming a world-changer. Maybe that fight in him will be needed after all.

The model of Shade School is one of inclusivity, where children in the community and children with albinism will learn together. This is how we plan to break down the barriers that currently exist and help to raise a new generation that knows the truth about albinism: simply, that they are valuable. 

Michael isn’t a student with albinism, but we pray he will be one that fights against the misconceptions that hold people with albinism back. We are building a great reputation and structures to safely include children with albinism at Shade School, so that Michael will know that ALL of his classmates are just like him, loved and valued by God and their teachers. You have helped make it possible. Thank you for being a fighter, too, as you fight for Michael to achieve. 

Oh and I almost forgot: support received by Shade has also provided Michael’s dad, George, with a new house on the Shade Campus. No more old animal stall for our trusty Head of Security!

We’re fighting together,

P.S. I suppose even fighters get tired, too.

Note: This post was originally sent out as a Shade newsletter. To sign up, please fill out the form below.

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The Brilliance of Christ

Charles Spurgeon once said that when a jeweler shows his best diamonds, he sets them against a black velvet backdrop. The contrast of the jewels against the dark velvet brings out the luster. In the same way, God does his most stunning work where things seem hopeless. Wherever there is pain, suffering, and desperation, Jesus is. And that’s where his people belong–among those who are vulnerable, who think nobody cares. What better place for the brilliance of Christ to shine?

-Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire