Being an albino can be a death sentence in Burundi. Superstitious customs are on the rise, calling for albino body parts as ingredients for concoctions and ceremonies to increase harvest and fishing successes. It seems that an albino body sells for many tens of thousands of dollars. Manhunters from surrounding countries have been detained and accused of murdering mostly children.
As a reaction to this dramatic situation, the head of Fondation Stamm, Mrs. Verena Stamm decided in February of 2011, to accept albino children into a small house in Kayanza. The children are able to continue to go to school and to sleep at night securely without fears of abduction and murder. Today, fourteen children in need, including nine albinos live in the children’s house in Kayanza. Mothers visit their children regularly.
burundikids has decided to support their local partner, Fondation Stamm, in their fight for the albinos and their human rights: with a home, education - and a future.
During a project with UNICEF in the Kayanza region, Fondation Stamm noticed the precarious situation of the albinos. The governor of the province asked by letter to assist in protecting the albinos. The immediate cause was a group of children who were too afraid of the night to go to their homes in the hills after school. Instead they slept outside the office of the politician – under the protection of the nearby police station.
Almost daily horror stories were in the news, such as abductions, murders and hunts for albinos. Almost 100 albinos died last year. A greater escape wave started, albinos sought refuge on the property of a prosecutor. He assisted in raising awareness among the population and putting it on the agenda of administrations. The people were more observant and caring – and assisted the police in capturing several manhunters.
At the beginning of 2012 three of six prisoners, accused of albino abduction and murder escaped in the east of Burundi and have disappeared. The governor continues his support and has already provided a food supply to the children’s home.
With social workers and in cooperation with the administration, Fondation Stamm wants to continue the protection of the albinos. The population is to be sensitised so that the albinos safety is preserved.
burundikids provides shelter, food, medical support and education – until the situation improves and the children can return to their homes in safety.