Sponsoring children with albinism to become the leaders of tomorrow
EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME
Our Education Scholarship Programme provides students with albinism in Tanzania with the necessary tools to define their own future
The Standing Voice Education Scholarship Programme (ESP) sponsors students with albinism to study at inclusive and high-achieving schools and universities. The ESP gives students a chance to learn in safe, supportive and healthy environments. Fully integrated among their peers, they can experience the love and equality to which every child is entitled. We offer scholarships to conscientious and dedicated students with albinism, through primary, secondary and higher education. This can be their greatest weapon against discrimination.
In Tanzania it is a widely held witchcraft belief that charms or potions made from the body parts of persons with albinism have the power to bring good luck, wealth, and success. This misconception has led to the mutilation and killing of people with albinism in Tanzania, with 76 brutally murdered and 89 more attacked since 2006. Vulnerable to attack, most victims have been children. Tanzania’s government has responded by placing hundreds of children with albinism in protectorate centres around the country, kept behind high walls for their safety. These centres are overcrowded and understaffed, with poor sanitation and inadequate educational infrastructure.
The challenges facing children with albinism extend beyond these centres. Only half of all children with albinism in Tanzania complete primary school; even fewer attend secondary. Those who do go to school often have difficulty reading, and need vision devices to participate in class. When this support is not available, academic underperformance can follow. In addition, many teachers and families lack the knowledge needed to meet these students’ needs.
42% increase in A grades for female students following our support
105 teachers have been trained as Vision Ambassadors to support students with albinism in Tanzania
Sponsor a child with Standing Voice today
Protectorate centres are not a sustainable solution. Although they shelter children with albinism in the short term, these centres are implicated in a deeper social story of violence, segregation and stigma. For centuries, people with albinism in Tanzania have been dehumanised and abused, pushed to the margins of society and deemed incapable of social contribution or value. Many were historically hidden away. For Tanzanians with albinism, the experience of physical seclusion is therefore not new. The spatial and symbolic separation imposed by protectorate camps is tragically familiar to this group, whose marginalisation has always meant removal from public life and erasure from historical record. To isolate children with albinism is to continue legitimising their projection as ‘different’ or ‘other’; it is to mask the symptoms of this crisis while perpetuating its cause. Camps are the new face of an old system.
Media has a part to play. Understandably, international responses to witchcraft killings in Tanzania have focused on the removal of children from danger. Discussions of how to achieve this have, however, lacked nuance, neglecting context in favour of narrative simplicity and the search for a ‘quick fix’. Protectorate centres have been viewed as straightforward sanctuaries and uncomplicated sources of rescue. This sensationalist snapshot obscures the truth: many children do not choose to relocate but are made to leave their families and homes. The majority of centres are small, and were never designed to house the hundreds they do now. Many of these children have histories of trauma, with psychosocial needs poorly served and often exacerbated by these environments. In camps, children are robbed of their educational aspirations and denied their rightful participation in society.
Standing Voice’s Education Scholarship Programme intervenes against segregation by reshaping the opportunities available to children with albinism. Current rhetoric, in media and in policy, locates protection in invisibility. We believe children with albinism must instead be made visible: solutions can be found through education, inclusion, and dialogue. To truly ignite change, children with albinism must be integrated back into society and embraced by their communities. Our long-term ambition is to relocate hundreds of displaced children into high-quality inclusive private schools, where they will develop and grow as respected members of their communities.
Education must be inclusive: children with albinism should be reconnected with their peers and communities and given opportunities to excel in mainstream mixed environments, where stigma can be defeated from the inside out. This is critical for breaking the cycle of ostracism and poverty that surrounds so many with albinism.
There are safe, reputable, high-achieving schools and universities across Tanzania where children with albinism can learn and flourish. It is simply a case of locating children with albinism and connecting them with these institutions on a tailored basis. Educated alongside students without albinism, beneficiaries can develop skills, cultivate self-belief, and truly understand their own value as equal community members with futures full of promise.
To realise these goals, Standing Voice has launched the ESP. The Programme is designed to give the best possible education to students with albinism. Its objectives are to:
FACILITATE young people with albinism to be the makers of their own future
ENABLE young people with albinism to become employable role models in their society
IMPROVE social perceptions of people with albinism
ENCOURAGE educational institutions in Tanzania to facilitate these developments
EMPOWER families to play a key role in the future of their child with albinism
All of these objectives lead to our ultimate goal of creating an inclusive society that values people with albinism.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
We connect donors around the world with individual children with albinism who show a dedication to study.
Each student is unique: we work with individuals and their families to enrol students in high-achieving schools where their needs can be targeted and abilities recognised. The ESP covers tuition, scholastic materials, medical check-ups and career advice. It also covers albinism-related training for teachers and school matrons, deepening their understanding of the condition to ensure outstanding long-term care for students. The Programme operates at primary, secondary and university level, forging unique and long-lasting relationships with beneficiaries. Because the fight for education cannot be separated from the fight for healthcare, employment, physical safety or social inclusion, we provide holistic support to students, all of whom have access to our Skin Cancer Prevention and Low Vision services as part of their individual support plans. It is this combination of structured services and individual tailoring that makes the Programme unique.
Our comprehensive application process explores students’ personal backgrounds and aspirations to gain the greatest possible insight into each child’s case. If students express interest in one particular subject, they are often matched to schools with corresponding specialisms. If students have complex family situations, those are factored into any potential decisions to relocate.
After identifying an eligible student our local ESP team assesses schools to find the best match for that beneficiary. As the most important link between students and their communities, families are included as key contributors in this decision-making process. Involving families increases the emotional support available to the child and nurtures his or her position within the family unit and the community more broadly.
Once a decision has been reached we liaise with school staff to arrange fees and logistics. After enrolment, we regularly visit students to offer mentoring and track long-term wellbeing and achievement. Our team places particular emphasis on a student’s transition between schools, or into university or employment, when he or she is statistically most vulnerable to dropping out. Many in our ESP team are ex-teachers and can therefore provide experienced professional support.
Across all of this work we conduct evidence-based research into the obstacles and facilitators influencing access to education among people with albinism: using focus groups and interviews we build a research picture to inform our own specific strategy and launch a broader advocacy push around this issue.
Help us create the leaders of tomorrow. Get in touch now to transform a child’s future.
Our Education Scholarship Programme is delivered in partnership with a network of 28 schools
"By the end of college, I hope to have the skills and knowledge to run my own life. "
Elizabeth Kampala – Beneficiary
"Despite my albinism, I can read and write just like anyone else."
Vedastus Zangule – Beneficiary
"The road to empowerment begins with education."
Mashaka Tuju – Education Support Officer
"There’s only one thing in life that’s helped me: Education. "
Josephat Torner – Advocate and Albinism Rights Campaigner