It's September in the year 2015ad. Ten brave wee souls are about to embark on an epic Scottish journey through the Highlands and attempt to canoe 60 miles along the Great Glen, cycle 200 miles and then summit seven Highland mountains each over 3,000 ft high.... all in one week!
But 'who are these lunatics?' I hear you ask. Well one of them is me, Chris Kear. 'And why are you trying to embark on such a feat?' There are many reasons. It will be a fantastic adventure and physical challenge for me, and when Jamie from Standing Voice asked me if I wanted to be involved and raise funds for the charity I jumped at the chance.
Standing Voice aims to fundamentally change the lives of people living with albinism in Tanzania who face extreme human right abuses caused by a lack of understanding. Some stories are horrific of people being abducted, trafficked and murdered due to misinformation and superstition. It's a sad state of affairs and unimaginable but it’s a reality in one of the least developed countries in the world; children are often abandoned by their families as they are believed to be a curse and they are even abducted for their limbs to be used in witchcraft rituals. All this is due to a lack of education and poverty.
Between us we aim to raise £35, 000 before we leave so please help me to reach my goal of £3, 500 by donating today. In the mean time, I'm going to get my jogging shoes on, or my cycling hat or my life jacket...one of those
How you will make a difference
£1,000 will fund transformative university education for a young person with albinism for one year
£850 will send a child with albinism to a high achieving secondary school to access an exceptional education for one year
£560 is the cost of one liquid nitrogen tank required for life-saving preventative skin cancer treatment
£150 will professionally train an optometrist to meet the complex vision needs of children with albinism in school
£65 will pay for a dermatologist for one day in a skin cancer clinic
£20 provides visual aids for a child with albinism so they are able to study effectively at school
£5 provides a months supply of sun screen to protect a person with albinism against skin cancer
About Standing Voice
Standing Voice promotes social inclusion and works to stop human rights violations against marginalised groups. We exist to give the disempowered vital tools and platforms to speak back to their society and reassert their presence and equality. We strive to nurture people’s understanding of others so that in the future these marginalised groups will be embraced by society. And in the meantime, we provide the essential basic needs they have been unrightfully denied.
We currently promote the social inclusion of those living with albinism in Tanzania. The stigma that surrounds them has been ingrained within society for many generations and throughout their lives they battle with prejudice, social exclusion and isolation. Seen as a curse from God, they are believed to bring bad luck to the households they are born in to. Many are killed at birth or rejected by their families. Judged by their skin colour alone they are continually dehumanised and ostracised within their communities.
In the face of such extreme prejudice people living with albinism suffer multiple deprivations in Tanzania. Marginalisation from essential health services has led to epidemic rates of skin cancer. As a result people with albinism only have a 2% chance of seeing their thirty-fifth birthday. In addition people with albinism face many challenges at all levels of national education system. This has created illiteracy and a low level of employment. To put this in numbers: Merely 10% of children with albinism in Tanzania are enrolled in secondary school, compared to the national average of 65%.
The stigmatisation facing people with albinism has reached an unimaginable new level in recent years with over 70 people brutally murdered in Tanzania since 2006. Many others have been left mutilated. This practice has been fuelled by witchcraft. Witchdoctors say that magic charms are more powerful if they contain body parts from people with albinism, which has led to a lucrative criminal trade in these body parts.
You can hear many of our beneficiaries tell their story in this short video:
Standing Voice Programmes