Today, I want to tell you about Mary and her children. What you are about to read is very disturbing. I share this story with you because you and I know that together we can stop these things from happening.
Mary Mathias, now 56, is a loving mother of seven children, including three girls born with albinism, Semini, Eunice and Shida. The betrayals against Mary and her girls started early. Mary discovered that her husband, who routinely shaved the girl's heads, was selling their hair.
He sold it because there is a market for it. Too many people in Tanzania still believe that all body parts, including even hair off the heads of people with albinism, have magical powers that bring wealth and good luck.
One day, Mary heard about a tragedy in a neighbouring village, the murder of a 48- year old man with albinism, and the brutal rape of his two daughters with albinism. Mary was terrified for her girls and pulled them out of school.
Then, suspicious things started to happen: a local businessman showed special interest in Eunice. Their father met with strangers at the town bar. And shortly thereafter, Mary Mathias woke up to her worst nightmare.
Four men, armed with machetes, had broken into her home in the middle of the night.
Terrified, and held back by two of the assailants, Mary and her husband could hear horrible sounds from the room next door,where her three daughters with albinism were sleeping.
When the men left, and Mary entered her daughters' room her worst fear had come true. Daughter Eunice had lost her 2 legs, AND HER LIFE that night.
Semini and Shida, who were told not to look or they'd be next, huddled in the corner, terrified and traumatized.
Mary's husband, the girls' own father, was arrested for the murder of Eunice along with a witchdoctor and another accomplice.
Tragically, with the arrest, even Mary's village turned on her. Mary knew they were no longer safe in their own home and community.
It was at this time that Under The Same Sun entered their lives. At their request, they relocated Mary and her children to a safe place.
Today, I'm happy to share with you that Semini and Shida attend the UTSS Education Programme. Supporters like you, help us pay Mary's rent for now, until she is self-sufficient. The cost of the children's schooling, visual aids and medical needs are also covered.
The road to healing is long, but Mary, Semini and Shida have begun their journey.
I'm sure you find this story as heartbreaking and senseless as I do. The lies surrounding albinism are powerful, causing violence and pain.
But the truth is more powerful. And you can do something to help spread the truth.
As Under The Same Sun tells people the facts about albinism through Albinism Awareness tours around the country, change is happening.
These tours work. The attacks dramatically decrease in areas where Albinism Awareness raising has been done.
UTSS is about to embark on another information blitz in Tanzania. I'd like to ask if you'd participate. Would you make a special donation today, to help spread the truth through the upcoming Albinism Awareness tour?
Your gift made by June 13, International Albinism Awareness Day, will cover the costs of holding public awareness seminars, playing radio spots and distributing information pamphlets.