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"The person who shies at the possibility of increased responsibilities or at the prospect of future uncertainties is hardly worthy of life itself, for life consists of uncertainties, problems and challenges of various types."

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Under the Same Sun - A site out to fight the cause of the Albinos

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Humbling Chat with Peter Ash

I was filled with a mixture of surprise and utter joy when Peter Ash, CEO of THE NDG FINANCIAL CORPORATION, called me on my mobile phone sometime this week. He is the man behind the site Under the Same Sun – a site out to fight the cause of albinos.

When Peter congratulated me on the work I’m doing in this site – creating awareness about the plight of albinos in Tanzania – I was more than humbled. Yes, humbled. Humbled that this site is being read by people who are at the helm of their countries and organizations.

For the 16 minutes that we talked, Peter’s enthusiasm was almost tangible. I could feel it. The acme of his enthusiasm came when he talked of the plans he has to champion an albino awareness campaign in Tanzania. I was, and definitely I am, impressed.

He also told me that being an albino in a Caucasian society, he has also had his fair share of challenges especially when he was young. His school mates used to call him names. He also had problems with his eye sight (a common problem experienced by albinos the world over).

But despite his challenging start at life, he has risen up the ranks and is now the CEO of his own company. He also has a good education to boot.

This, Peter and I agreed, is unlike what most albinos in Africa (Tanzania in particular) can achieve in a life-time. This is because, in Tanzania, albinism is seen as a curse and albinos are treated like people who do not have the right to be on the face of the earth. This has been compounded by the recent spate of albino killings in Tanzania that have shocked the world.

Parents with albino children fear to let them go to school for fear that something bad may befall their children. In this way, the fate of the albino children is sealed: without an education, they’ll more certainly lead lives of beggary.

We also talked about the principal spark that fuels albino killings in Tanzania: witchcraft and sorcery. What stands out from what we said about this issue is that witchcraft and sorcery are vices that are empowered by ignorance. Before any significant change can come about, this ignorance must first be stamped out.

It is also worthy to note that witchcraft is a deep-seated and equally deep-rooted problem in the Tanzanian society – for even some people in government use witchcraft to stay in power. It is something that can never be wished away.

The good thing is that one of the principal reasons why Under the Same Sun was set up, is to help get ways and means to deal with the problems bedeviling the albino society.

Peter Ash, I know this is a tall order but with concerted effort, enthusiasm and the will to rise up against all odds, this monster will be routed; this great war will be won. Go for it!

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