In a country where people with albinism are misunderstood, feared, maimed and even killed, Under the Same Sun (UTSS) wants to help change the beliefs and attitudes that are behind the discrimination. Peter Ash, UTSS president, says, “every person should have the opportunity to be a fully accepted, contributing member of society.” The BMCC Church near Mwanza has been demonstrating how this is done.
In the summer of 2013, people from the church volunteered to help out with a camp for children with albinism, organized by UTSS. Getting to know these children up close was an eye-opening and enriching experience for many. As friendships were formed, prejudices fell away.
In fact, every Sunday since the camp, church members have been driving to the private schools in nearby Mwanza to pick up the children who spend the weekends alone and bring them to church. There are often close to 100 children with albinism in the congregation. They spend hours together, playing, praying, worshiping, teaching and eating. One of the young students has even taken a turn to preach.
Church members also visit the children without parents at their schools on parent/teacher days when the families of other students come to see how their children are doing.
When Peter Ash visited the BMCC church in 2014, he spoke to the congregation about the importance of loving God’s children with albinism. After his message, the pastor invited all those who wanted to commit themselves to walking alongside their brothers and sisters with albinism to come forward. In a moving demonstration of commitment and solidarity, the entire congregation stood up and walked to the front.
Ash says he hopes that the acceptance and inclusion demonstrated by this group of faithful people will serve as an example, helping to make the world a safer and happier place for people with albinism.