Mariamu Staford has started her own business, which is no small thing for a young woman from a rural village in Tanzania. Especially a young woman who has been mocked, rejected, assaulted, and left for dead – a woman living with albinism.
 
Growing up as a child with white skin in a black community set Mariamu apart from a young age. Although her parents and relatives accepted her and treated her like their other children, things were different at school. Her classmates made fun of her. Some were afraid. Her low vision caused problems in reading what was on the board and she became increasingly discouraged. By age 12, she was skipping classes and finally dropped out altogether. When her father found out, he was very angry. Education, he knew, was his child’s only hope of breaking the cycle of poverty and ensuring a better future. Still, if his daughter refused to go to school, she would have to do her share of the back-breaking labour on the family farm. He bought her a hoe.
 
For many years, life was relatively uneventful on the family farm until the night that would change 28-year-old Mariamu’s life dramatically.
Miriaumu was sleeping beside her two-year-old son when a man entered her bedroom, hacked off both of her arms, and fled. Thankfully, her little boy, sleeping beside her, was unharmed, but Mariamu spent several weeks in hospital. Unable to hug her young son, she also struggled to answer him when he asked her, “Mom, where did you put your arms?”
 
With help from Under the Same Sun, and a generous donation of prosthetic arms, Miriamu was able to attend a vocational boarding school. Since graduating, she has started her own business while continuing to upgrade her skills by taking additional courses in commercial knitting and sewing. She and her son benefit from the security of living on campus. She makes shawls, sweaters, skirts and dresses on a commercial loom, which she then sells. Soon, as her business grows, she will be making school uniforms for many of the children with albinism in the UTSS education program. 
 
It turns out Mariamu’s father was right. Thanks to UTSS, education has provided Mariamu with a better future.
 

UTSS Latest News

June 13th, 2017
We are people too.
Read the Newsweek editorial written by UTSS Founder & CEO, Peter Ash, on his experience as a person with albinism and the persecution that PWA still face in many parts of the world.
May 05th, 2017
The Hunted
The New York Times reports on the deadly discrimination facing people with Albinism in Malawi and Mozambique.
April 12th, 2017
Tanzanian children with albinism seek care in US
Four Tanzanian children with albinism, who lost limbs in brutal superstition-driven attacks, arrived in the United States on Saturday for medical treatment and respite from a homeland where they are persecuted and feared.
April 12th, 2017
Global News
Four Tanzanian children with albinism who lost limbs in brutal superstition-driven attacks arrived in the United States on Saturday for medical treatment and respite from a homeland where they are persecuted and feared.
April 12th, 2017
Malawi police arrest 2 men found with the bones of a person with albinism
Police followed and arrested 2 men caught selling human bones near Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe.
April 12th, 2017
Malawi attack survivor: 'I am too scared to sleep'
Femia Tchulani survived an attempted kidnapping in Malawi by people wanting to kill her for her body parts.
April 12th, 2017
Witch doctors in Malawi are hiring ‘hit men’
In Malawi, where the condition is more common than almost anywhere in the world, witch doctors hire ‘hit men’ from among the impoverished rural communities to murder then mutilate persons with albinism so they can use their organs for ‘medicines’ that are sold at huge prices.
April 12th, 2017
Persons with albinism in Zambia call for end to brutality
At least ten PWA are murdered in ritual killings every year in Zambia.
March 06th, 2017
Nyasa Times
Malawi Police have intensified their hunt for attackers who severely wounded two persons with albinism Friday.
March 03rd, 2017
Africa Times
An independent United Nations expert called Friday for stronger oversight of traditional medicine in African countries in order to limit the threat to people living with albinism.