Name Calling, Fear and Killings: Challenges Faced by Primary School Pupils with Albinism in Misungwi District, Mwanza – Tanzania
People with albinism in Tanzania encounter multiple challenges due to their physical condition which hinders them from achieving their desired goals in life. This Study sought to investigate the challenges which pupils with albinism face and possible measures to combat the identified challenges. A qualitative approach and critical ethnographic research designs were adopted for this study. In making sense of our findings, we were guided by the “theory of stigma” by Goffman 1963 which is based on discrediting attributes. To affirm stigma, Goffman explains the stages of stigmatization which include: labeling human differences; stereotyping such differences; separating those labeled from “us”; and status loss and discrimination against those labeled. Participants were obtained from one primary school which we selected purposefully because of its large number of pupils with albinism. Participants included; 3 teachers, 1 head of the school, 10 pupils with albinism and 1 patron responsible for pupils with albinism in the school. Data was collected through in-depth interviews and open ended questionnaires. The findings from this study indicate that majority of pupils with albinism experienced multiple challenges which we categorized into three groups. First, health challenges which include; poor vision, lack of balanced diet, lack of reliable safe source of water and scarcity of protective devices. Second, social psychological challenges which include; abandonment, not being loved, stereotypes, worries/fear, uncertainties and the like. Third academic challenges which include; poor vision, inability to read, overcrowded classroom and lack of learning resources. Based on these findings we concluded that, stigma and discrimination still exists among pupils with albinism. This situation should not be tolerated as it amounts to human rights abuse and if unattended it may progress to loss of innocent lives. Recommendation to improve this state of affairs are directed to the government, educational policy makers, educators, families, and societies at large. All these stakeholders should strive towards creating and ensuring favorable school environment for pupils with albinism.
Key terms: Name calling, killings, experiences, fear, stigma, albinism and human rights