Togo has a relatively high number of individuals with albinism. People with this skin pigmentation genetic condition are hurt substantially in their eyes and on their skin by the sun’s rays. And, as you might expect, the sun REALLY shines in West Africa!
Sunscreen is almost unheard of in this country so we are seeking donations of tubes of sunscreen at SPF30+. Also, donations of sunglasses with UV protection, full brim hats (think Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island, or gardening/fishing/baseball caps WITHOUT plastic tabs in the back) or lightweight long-sleeved shirts will be taken to Togo for these people. Especially valuable will be items for infants and small children.
These items go from Cincinnati to Togo by truck-railroad-ship in a two month journey. They are then distributed in Togo by the group Anat Albinos Du Togo.
Here are additional pictures of the program in action…
What is Albinism?
The word “albinism” refers to a group of inherited conditions. People with albinism have little or no pigment in their eyes, skin, or hair. They have inherited altered genes that do not make the usual amounts of a pigment called melanin. One person in 17,000 has some type of albinism. Albinism affects people from all races.
How do those suffering albinism get the sunscreen, sunglasses, etc. we provide?
We are working with a local Togolese group called Anat Albinos Du Togo. We send the donations to them and this group then distributes them within the country. They have a Facebook page here and they are happy to accept new Facebook friends.
How Can You Help?
We are accepting funds*** to help cover these program costs
- Customizing hats locally in Togo (about $2 per hat customization – money to local economy!)
- Barrel (needed for inexpensive shipping in hold of cargo ship)
- Shipping (NOTE: minimizing program expense by allowing 6 weeks to arrive on slow-moving ship)
Additionally, we are accepting gifts of the following…
- 1,000 sunscreen tubes (Dollar Stores have small sizes for $1)
- 40 pairs of children’s sunglasses with UV protection
- 100 pairs of adult sunglasses with UV protection
- 100 hats (we cannot use hats with plastic tabs on the back)
*** items can be placed in the Mission Center at Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church, 6474 Beechmont, Cincinnati, OH 45230
Here is the two-pager that we use for education purposes
- Two-pager in English
- Two-pager in French (the official language of Togo – though there are many regional languages too)
Albinism in the Media
This article shows some of the cultural challenges that those with albinism have in Africa
And the United Nations is making efforts – see more here
Here is a youtube with a panel discussing “Not ghosts but human beings…persons with albinism”
This project dates back to a trip Andy made with his brother-in-law on a motorcycle into the bush in Togo. At the end of the line, on a ridge trail over a set of small mountains, he came to a place and stopped the bike just in front of a small crowd of kids. In the center was a little albino child, shirtless, crying, and shading his eyes. Andy said to him (in English, knowing that he didn’t speak it): “Someday I’ll be back to help.”
For more information, please contact Steve Long at 513.330.8503, Kpandja Djawe, Andy Long, Anna Long or email us at “salong_now.at.yahoo.com” (NOTE: use the @ sign though in place of “.at.” – described this way to hopefully avoid spam emails)
Additional materials from our former wikidot site…
Many thanks to Ft. Thomas and MWPC members who have contributed to the albinism cause!
- Here it is in French