Opening Doors, Unlocking Potential: Bure’s Story

A Journey from Buhangija Protectorate Centre to Mingas School

Buhangija Protectorate Centre (Photo by Harry Freeland / Standing Voice)

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 72 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 in the name of safety. Unfortunately, these centres are overcrowded and understaffed, and were never meant to accommodate the hundreds they do now. They typically have poor sanitation and inadequate educational infrastructure.

Locked in these centres, children are separated from their families, robbed of proper educational opportunities, and further marginalised from mainstream society.

Buhangija Protectorate Centre (Photo by Harry Freeland / Standing Voice)

Bure was once one of these children. Fearing for his safety, his family took him to the Buhangija protectorate centre in Shinyanga and left him there.

When the Standing Voice team first found Bure in Buhangija, he was no longer in contact with his family. He was failing to access quality education. He was trapped.

Through our Education Scholarship Programme, Standing Voice aims to remove children with albinism from harmful environments and integrate them into mainstream schools where they can flourish.

Bure has now been enrolled onto our programme and transferred to Mingas School. In this high-achieving mixed school, Bure receives high-calibre education and interacts with his peers, free from segregation.

Bure (Photos by Standing Voice)

Bure has grasped this opportunity and held on. He is a model student at Mingas, and has developed strong friendships. For the past two years, he has achieved high marks, excelling in Swahili, English, and Maths.

I have made many new friends and have about five new best friends. They help me to find my things if ever I lose anything, and they also help me in class.

Standing Voice has also facilitated the reintegration of Bure with his family. As so often happens in these cases, Bure’s family hadn’t seen him for three years before his transfer to Mingas.

His father and grandfather accompanied us when transferring Bure to Mingas, and since then, his entire family has visited him regularly. They even bring gifts and clothes, congratulating Bure on his achievements.

Schoolteachers say that Bure is a gifted student with many talents and that they look forward to his future development with excitement.

Bure’s future is so much brighter now. Help other children with albinism and support our Education Scholarship Programme here.

Bure at a Standing Voice Low Vision Clinic in March 2016 (Photo by Standing Voice)