What Does Advocacy Look Like?
The word “misinformation” is showing up more in our collective vocabulary these days. Unfortunately, misinformation can lead to devastating outcomes. This is especially true for people with albinism in Tanzania, who are persecuted because of misguided beliefs. Shade combats misinformation through advocacy. We hold seminars for the community in order to create a safe place to learn and ask questions.
Starting with the Basics
People with albinism are just like everyone else—apart from reduced pigmentation in their skin, hair, and eyes. When talking about albinism, we start with the basics. The concept of melanin becomes simple when comparing skin tones. From there, we can explain that albinism is caused by melanin deficiency.
Physical Challenge: Low Vision
Albinism affects the structure and pigmentation of the eye. This causes varying degrees of visual impairment. Many people with albinism are legally blind. Using a dome lens to enlarge words on the page is helpful for reading. When we advocate, we let community members know about this physical challenge that people with albinism face.
Physical Challenge: Light Sensitivity
Albinism affects the structure and pigmentation of the eye. This causes extreme sensitivity to light. Sunglasses are one way to mitigate his challenge, as well as reducing the amount of light in the room.
Physical Challenge: Skin Sensitivity
The lack of melanin in a person with albinism’s skin leaves them unprotected from the sun. This makes them much more susceptible to skin cancer. When we advocate, we tell others about this challenge and how it can be best overcome: wear protective clothing, wear a hat that shades the face and neck, and apply sunscreen to exposed areas.
A Safe Space
When trying to combat misinformation around a challenging topic, it is important to create a safe place for interaction. Our Community Seminars are purposed to be that safe place. We encourage attendees to ask hard questions and engage in the process of transformation. We involve them in demonstrations and challenge them to examine their own belief systems.
Raising Up the Next Generation
Another of Shade’s strategies is educating the next generation about albinism. That way, they can grow up knowing and believing differently. At Shade School, students study alongside peers who have albinism. They become friends and come to realize that they’re not so different after all. They will grow up to be the leaders of tomorrow, who will be empowered to create a more equitable society.
Will you join the fight and raise your voice?
Like & Share posts on Facebook or Instagram, tell others about albinism, keep learning and being informed, pray for change, give financially so that work can continue. When you advocate, you’ll be in good company, joining this incredible group of community members in Tanzania who are learning and dreaming for a better future for all people. Learn how to get involved here.
Would you consider making a financial gift to help more people learn the truth about albinism?