Approximately one in every 1,400 births in Tanzania is one 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.
The Shinyanga region of Tanzania is home to many people with albinism and to some of the most deeply rooted beliefs in witchcraft that endanger them. This is the place that SHADE has decided to call home. We seek to replace the evil of witchcraft with the roots and love of Jesus Christ.
Albinism is an inherited genetic condition that results in a lack of the pigment melanin in the skin, hair, and eyes. This results in pale skin, light-colored hair, and low vision. The lack of skin pigmentation leaves people with albinism very sensitive to the sun and at risk of skin cancer.
The oppression goes even further. People with albinism are often seen as outcasts and the forgotten in Tanzania. In many cases, mothers are advised to kill their babies who are born with albinism, and the children who do get the opportunity to live grow up facing discrimination. Many parents consider their children with albinism useless and education a waste of money, so they are never enrolled in school. If given the opportunity to study, students with albinism face the additional challenge of low-vision and teachers who are usually ill-equipped to offer accommodations in the classroom. They are outcasts and are often bullied. Even with an education, people with albinism face challenges in securing jobs later in life.
SHADE’s beliefs couldn’t be further from those beliefs. We believe in the deep LOVE that Jesus Christ has for them. We believe they are worthy of life and worthy of love. We feel called and convicted to protect, equip, and empower these ones with albinism.