#STAYSHADYFORACHANGE - JULY 2016
The FTHESUN team went to Mwanza, Tanzania to help kids with Albinism learn how to protect from the sun and #stayshady. We held a series of workshops where close to 200 kids learned about the sun and skin cancer in a fun and practical way. We made bracelets that change color depending on the radiation levels, we learned proper hand washing techniques, and we learned how to dress properly to enjoy life under the sun. The FTHESUN team also donated specially designed sun protective hats to every kid in the program through its one-for-one #shady hat campaign. (Thank you to everyone who participated in our campaign!!!)
Why Tanzania? Great question.
People with albinism in Tanzania live under constant fear of deadly discrimination and harassment because of their skin color. There is an ancient belief among local witch doctors that body parts of people with albinism bring wealth and good luck and are therefore used in magical potions and charms.
Witchcraft and discrimination is not the only struggle for people with albinism in Tanzania, but they also live under constant fear from the sun: their biggest enemy.
Since melanin works as our body’s first defense against the sun’s rays, a lower level of melanin means more skin damage from sun exposure. In Tanzania, where its sunny almost every day of the year, 100% of children with albinism will show signs of skin damage by the age of 10 and only 2% of these kids will live to be 40 years old.
In case you were wondering what Albinism is- We've got you.
Albinism is a genetic condition that reduces the production of melanin in our bodies. As you know, melanin is what gives color to our skin, therefore reduced melanin levels in people with Albinism will result in the absence of pigment in skin, hair and eyes.