Albino’s in Togo
LUMEN has taken over the work of the FORCE Foundation in the Netherlands. The aim is to help as many children with Albinism as possible. Together they had set up projects for that purpose. These projects should enable the Albino children to function in the society with the same rights and the same opportunities like any child.
Albinism is a genetically inherited condition which is very rare in the western world and worldwide affects approximately one in twenty thousand people. It is characterized by a deficit in the production in melanin and by the partial or complete absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Although rare in the western world, albinism is quite common in sub-Saharan Africa, so as in Togo especially in the central region (Sokodé and its surrounding) likely as a result of consanguinity. Both parents who may or may not be albinos themselves must carry the gene if it is to be passed on to the child and is common both for male and female. For instance according to the statistics fifty percent of albinos in Tanzania have an albino relative which they know of although very few understand or are educated about the medical and genetic causes of this phenomenon. Albinism is rather widespread in Togo.
Hence Force and Lumen now have several projects for Albino’s. The purpose of these projects is to help these children to get an education.
Discrimination of Albino’s is, like in other places in Africa, very common. An extra challenge for these children is that they suffer of lowvision. It makes it harder to follow lessons in school. Tools to overcome lowvision are not available in Togo.
How are things set up in Togo?
Togo is a small country in West Africa. The capital – Lomé – is situated at the coast. The second city of the country – Sokodé– is situated in the centre of the country. The projects for Albino’s are concentrated in Atakpamé on the road from Lomé to Sokodé and in Sokodé.