24 Jan An Exciting New Partnership With Albino Peacemakers
Lahash International is welcoming the new year by welcoming a new ministry partner!
For the past few years, we’ve been building a relationship with the passionate and inspiring leaders of Albino Peacemakers. Their ministry is based in Arusha, Tanzania, and provides critical care and advocacy for kids and adults living with albinism. They have been praying for a more sustainable and holistic way to meet the unique needs of these kids, and our Child Sponsorship Program is a perfect fit! As we launch this new partnership, we invite you to join in and start sponsoring one of these amazing kids. You can click here to meet the kids waiting to be sponsored.
The country of Tanzania has the highest rate of albinism in the world. It is estimated that this genetic condition affects anywhere from 25,000 to 150,000 people in the nation. Due to a lack of melanin in their skin, people living with albinism suffer from extreme sensitivity to the sun often resulting in sores and even skin cancer at a young age. Damaged optical nerves associated with the condition also leave most children with very poor vision. In addition to these serious health problems, people with albinism face intense stigma, discrimination, and even violence.
Sister Martha Mganga was born with albinism in northern Tanzania. Growing up she faced psychological and emotional abuse from her father as well as from her neighbors. At one point she even attempted suicide because of the abuse and stigma related to her condition. She knows first-hand what it feels like to live without hope, pushed out to the margins of society. Yet even in the depths of those struggles, God was with her. Today, her life is a testimony to the healing power of faith and forgiveness.
Traditionally, people with albinism are believed to be cursed. They are often bullied, shamed, beaten, and chased from school. Some have been killed or maimed for body parts to be used for witchcraft and superstitious beliefs. Even though the country is making progress in addressing those terrible practices, the shame, stigma, and physical dangers persist. Sister Martha still faces constant threats of violence, but she is determined to advocate for children with albinism and change the way it is perceived.
She founded Albino Peacemakers to provide direct advocacy and care for children and adults with albinism who have endured multiple forms of trauma. In connection with the Tanzanian government, local schools, and international partners like Lahash, Sister Martha has helped to place several groups of children with albinism into boarding schools. Not only are they able to receive a good education, but also the benefits of a safe environment and integration alongside their darker skinned peers. In classrooms and schoolyards, traditional stereotypes are being broken down as the lives of these precious kids are being built up.
Many children who were previously kept at home because of shame or the false belief that they were mentally disabled are now making great progress in school. Albino Peacemakers has advocated with the schools to make simple accommodations which have a huge impact on students with albinism. For example, allowing wide brimmed hats and long sleeved shirts instead of the standard school uniform, or allowing children with poor vision to stand right by the chalkboard where they can read the lesson. They also facilitate stigma reduction training with both teachers and students.
Trained as an evangelist in the Anglican Church, Sister Martha loves sharing about how God has worked in her own life, and desires every child to experience the unconditional love of Jesus. Albino Peacemakers is also involved in trauma healing workshops and in educating the wider community about the facts surrounding this genetic condition. They are helping families accept and love their kids with albinism, and they are spreading the message across Tanzania that people with albinism are normal people worthy of kindness and compassion.
The tireless efforts of Albino Peacemakers are bringing hope and healing to many kids living with albinism! We are so excited to partner with them in this ministry, and we invite you to join us! Through sponsorship, you can help a child receive the holistic care they need and know that they are seen, valued, and loved. To meet the kids waiting for sponsors at Albino Peacemakers, just click the button below. Thanks for joining us!