Don't join any of these group ISIS, Al Qaida, Al Shabab and Boko haram these are human traffickers

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Indian women sold like products to Persian Gulf Arab states: Minister

Wed May 25, 2016 12:56AM
This undated photo shows an Indian migrant woman from a village near the Indian city of Hyderabad on a plane en route to Qatar. ©Daily News and Analysis
This undated photo shows an Indian migrant woman from a village near the Indian city of Hyderabad on a plane en route to Qatar. ©Daily News and Analysis
Indian women from two southern neighboring states "are being sold like products in a retail shop" to the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, says an Indian state minister.
Palle Raghunatha Reddy, Andhra Pradesh's minister for non-resident Indian welfare, sent a letter to Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj last week, complaining about the plight of fellow citizens in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday.
Reddy said women domestic workers from Andhra Pradesh and the neighboring state of Telangana “are being sold to the tune of 400,000 rupees ($6,000) in Saudi Arabia and between 100,000 ($1,500) to 200,000 rupees ($3,000) in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait."
He said the women -- many of them imprisoned for overstaying their visas and failure to pay the fines thereof or caught trying to flee their abusive employers -- should be brought back to “their native areas safely by providing free travel and necessary visa documents at the earliest possible” opportunity.
Palle Raghunatha Reddy, Andhra Pradesh's minister for non-resident Indian welfare
"Instructions should be issued to Indian embassy officials in Persian Gulf countries to interfere in the matter and provide necessary help in terms of food, clothing and shelter," the letter read.
About six million Indian migrants are in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, according to the Indian government.
The migrants include women who are lured by recruitment agents into leaving their villages to take up jobs in the six countries that pay up to three times more than in India.
At least 25 women languishing in those countries’ jails have recently sought the state government's help, Reddy added.
Kasturi Munirathinam, whose right hand was chopped off by her employer in Saudi Arabia last year when she tried to escape abuse, is pcitured in her home in Vellore, 150 kilometers (90 miles) from Chennai, India, after a painful convalescence. ©Reuters
Following a parliamentary query in March, India’s diplomatic missions in the Arab Persian Gulf countries announced they had registered instances of violations of migrants’ rights including physical abuse and non-payment of salary.
A delegation of Andhra Pradesh government ministers will visit the countries next month in relation to the situation of Indian migrants there, a senior state official said on condition of anonymity.
Migrant agreements
India and the Persian Gulf states have singed different agreements on Indian migrants’ protection since the 1980s. But activists are skeptical that such agreements, the latest of which signed with the United Arab Emirates, would improve the human rights situation of the migrants.
"The bilateral agreements are focused on ensuring more people get jobs and bring back remittances, but not protecting the worker and his basic rights," said Bernard D'Sami, the coordinator of the non-government Arunodhaya Migrant Initiative, an Indian migrant advocacy group.
"People arrive at the destination country to find no labour contract and no valid work permit. At the end of 90 days, when their tourist visa expires, they are undocumented people in a foreign land. That's when the hell begins," D'Sami added.
Last year, the Indian government registered 538 and 282 cases of abuse in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia respectively. 
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Saturday, May 21, 2016

11 Somalis, 10 Ethiopians Arrested in Egypt for Illegal Migration

AVR DJI A 23 4 15
Egyptian authorities have arrested 11 Somalis and ten Ethiopians for entering the country illegally. Egypt is believed to be a transit point for illegal immigrants heading to Europe via the Mediterranean.

According to the Cairo Post, the East African migrants were arrested in a train heading to Luxor in southern Egypt. Officials have not released the identities of the 21 people in custody.
It is also unclear how long the migrants would be detained and if they would be deported back to their home countries.
The Egyptian government has amped up efforts to curb widespread illegal immigration. Thousands of illegal migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Western African countries use Egypt as a transit point to get to Europe.
Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi migrants reportedly also follow this route, which has led thousands to their deaths on the sea as over-crowded boats often sink.
Egyptian authorities have arrested thousands of people for illegal immigration in past two months. Many of the arrests were made around the Egyptian-Libyan borders and in the Mediterranean cities.
On Wednesday, 72 Somalis, three Congolese, two Sudanese and one Gambian citizen were arrested before boarding an illegal boat to Italy. Officials announced later in the day that 240 Egyptians and five Sudanese were arrested in the Western Desert trying to enter Libya illegally.
The illegal migration of African and people from the Middle East to Europe in search of opportunities has escalated over the past few years. European governments have struggled with the mass migrations.
A recent incident where Italian officials found a boat with at least 560 Egyptian children on their shores epitomizes the magnitude of the current illegal immigration situation.
Egypt’s Minster of Immigration and Affairs of Egyptians abroad Nabila Makram confirmed that the children traveled to Europe without their parents or relatives.
She added that the children whose “ages did not exceed 11-years-old” have been received by Italian authorities. The children are reportedly been housed in shelters where they are receiving craft lessons.
According to the Egyptian office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in 2014, Italy received 4,000 Egyptian migrants, including 2,000 minors unaccompanied by parents or relatives.
Photo: IOM/2015

Kuwait Seeks to Ban Ethiopian Maids in 2 Years After Report of Premeditated Murders Targeting Employers

Kuwaiti officials are pursuing a proposal for the government not to renew the work and residence permits of all Ethiopian maids as a short-term approach to ridding the country of the women.

According to Arab Times, the proposal was submitted this week to the Ministry of Interior by Brigadier Mohammad Al Sharhan, deputy director-general for Kuwait’s Criminal Investigations.
The proposal, which seeks to rid the country of all Ethiopian maids in two years, was accompanied by a report of heinous crimes committed by the East African women.
The collage of crimes includes a series of premeditated murders committed by Ethiopian maids.
The report claims that most Ethiopian women believe in human sacrifice to atone for sins and attract blessings. The report also claims that the victims of these sacrifices are usually young women, “preferably virgins.”
According to the report, most of the murders committed by Ethiopian maids were premeditated. The perpetrators usually killed their victims – usually their employer’s daughter – with a knife, the report said, adding that investigations often found that the victims and their attackers had a good relationship before the fatal incidents.
Kuwait is the largest employer of domestic workers in the Middle East. The country is host to about 666,000 domestic workers – many of whom are from Africa and Asia.
The country also has the highest ratio of domestic workers to citizens in the region with about 90 percent of Kuwaiti household employing a foreign maid.
It is estimated that there are about 74,000 Ethiopians living in Kuwait. Thousands of Ethiopian women travel to the Middle East and Asia yearly in search of jobs.
In 2014, Ethiopia sought to impose a ban Ethiopians traveling to other nations to work as domestic servants after investigations revealed that most were victims of human trafficking.
In the past few years, maids have repeatedly made headlines in the country and around the region for perpetrating violence against their employers and their family.
According to some reports, these crimes could be triggered by depression and other psychological disorders caused by inhumane working conditions.
There have been several reports of domestic workers in Kuwait suffering terrible abuses including working for long hours without rest, non-payment of wages as well as physical and sexual abuse.
According to Kuwaiti’s Kafala sponsorship system, these workers are not allowed to leave or change jobs without the consent of their employers. They are considered “illegal” if they flee from their employers.
Photo: Getty Images
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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

5 Celebrities Who Have Real Mental Disorders

Amit Shah uses old magazine photo to defend PM on Somalia jibe, causes more embarrassment

Janta Ka Reporter

Not so long ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Somalia jibe in Kerala had made him the subject of widespread criticism with social media users slamming him for comparing God’s Own Country to a severely underdeveloped African nation.
Faced with unprecedented outrage, the BJP’s national president, Amit Shah recently, made desperate attempts to defend Modi on his Somalia comments.

But, while doing so, he appears to have caused more embarrassment to himself, his party and a reputed magazine.
On Saturday (yesterday), Shah launched a counter offensive by saying that the prime minister was, after all, right in describing the infant mortality in Kerala as worse than Somalia.
Shah said that Modi was not comparing Kerala with Somalia, but had only highlighted the actual living conditions of the tribals.
Shah relied on many media reports to make his point. This also included a report of Outlook magazine, which had carried a cover story in its July 2013 issue.
Titled as God’s Own Curse, the cover story explored the condition of tribals in Kerala, especially in Attapadi near Palakkad district.
But, what Shah didn’t realise that the magazine he was relying on had mistakenly used the photo of children’s plight in north Sri Lanka during its civil war.
us report
It now appears that the photo used by magazine was not from Kerala but from Sri Lanka and taken from 2009

The photo used by Outlook was actually taken in May 2009 from Sri Lanka.
The social media users have begun attacking Shah for using a photo, which was allegedly fabricated from the beginning.
It seems, Shah’s action has also cause unintended embarrassment for a reputed magazine, otherwise known for its hard-hitting journalism.
The Delhi based magazine appeared to have used the photo of the mother and child on the cover to add to the visual impact of the story.
The magazine had not included the cover photo inside the report, where it used pictures from various tribal hamlets in Kerala.

 US State Department Report to Congress on “Incidents During the Recent Conflicts in Sri Lanka.”
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Domestic workers take to the catwalk in Lebanon

250,000 domestic workers in Lebanon have no protection under labour law, often face degrading treatment.
Middle East Online
Fashion show in Beirut neighborhoud of Gemmayzeh
BEIRUT - Anna Fernando struts down the black-and-white tiles of a trendy coffee shop in the Lebanese capital, dressed in high heels and a strapless ball gown of caramel gauze ribbons.
The 43-year-old left her native Sri Lanka 21 years ago to work as a maid in Lebanon, determined to provide her children with better opportunities in life than her own.
On her day off this weekend, she joined a dozen other domestic workers at a modelling show in central Beirut organised by local NGO Insaan, Arabic for "human being".
"Even if I work like a maid, I'm a human being," Anna says backstage, her eyes thick with mascara before her name is called to show off the work of young Lebanese designers.
Sunday's fashion show is part of an effort to humanise an estimated 250,000 foreign domestic workers who toil in the kitchens and living rooms of Lebanese families.
Now in its fourth year, the show aims to give participants the opportunity to be seen as something other than the hired help.
"In Lebanese society, they live like all other women when they're not at work," says Rania Dirani, the head of Insaan.
Rights groups often accuse Lebanon and Gulf states of racist and degrading treatment of migrant domestic workers, who are often referred to simply as "servants" or "Sri Lankans", regardless of their actual nationality.
- 'Not only domestic workers' -
Most overseas workers work under a restrictive sponsorship system called "kafala" that leaves them dependent on their employer's goodwill and unable to escape abusive work relationships.
Domestic workers are not protected by Lebanese labour law, despite the efforts of a new union begun for them early last year with the support of the country's federation of labour unions.
"At this fashion show we want to tell all these people we are not only domestic workers," Sumy Khan from Bangladesh says.
The 22-year-old with short hair and tattoos says she would have loved to have studied journalism at home in Bangladesh, but that she had to leave two years ago to support her family.
As she paraded down the catwalk in a short cream-and-white onesie between Lebanese and foreigners huddled along its edge, cameras in hand, her friends whooped and clapped in support.
The fashion show is just one of several civil society initiatives that seeks to combat often discriminatory and exploitative attitudes towards domestic workers.
Last year, a domestic help agency in Lebanon put out an ad on Mother's Day that was slammed by activists as racist and wildly dehumanising.
"For Mother's Day indulge Ur Mom & offer her a housekeeper. Special offer on Kenyan & Ethiopian nationalities for a period of 10 days," read a text message sent to thousands of mobile phone users and subsequently picked up by media.
The American University of Beirut last year surveyed 1,200 employers in Lebanon on their views of domestic workers, and Lebanese rights group Kafa has turned the results into an online campaign.
"Fifty-one percent of Lebanese women think (their) domestic worker is not trustworthy -- although she takes care of their children," goes one line.
- 'Now a migrant chef' -
Standing out among the models on Sunday, Alix Lenoir, a 20-year-old Franco-Lebanese student of industrial design, says she decided to join to connect with other participants.
"I think it's a shame that these women in our society in Lebanon have had a little of their confidence taken away from them," she says.
"When they go out, they go out among themselves -- not with other people."
By the end of the evening, Lenoir is hugging one of her fellow models -- 18-year-old Iman Bachir, the daughter of migrant workers from Sudan -- and promising to meet up soon.
Fernando says her sacrifice of living away from her family for two decades has paid off.
Today, her 21-year-old daughter is studying pharmacology and her 22-year-old son is about to graduate as an army officer in Sri Lanka.
And she is starting up a small catering business.
"People love Sri Lankan food. It's delicious, full of spices, and very good for you," reads her business card, on which her name sits in a circle of fresh herbs, chillies and spices.
She cooks Sri Lankan, Indian and Nepali dishes, the card says, and Lebanon-based foodies can order fluffy rice and fragrant curries by phone, via email or Facebook.
"I'm now a migrant chef," she says.

The albino who confronted a witchdoctor


Monday, 16 May 2016

  • 16 May 2016
Stephane Ebongue

Stephane Ebongue fled Cameroon because of the colour of his skin - his albinism made him a target for those who believe such people have special powers. Years later he returned home to confront a witchdoctor, and to question him about the practice of using human body parts in "magic" potions.
Stephane Ebongue stands nervously at the edge of a forest trail, dressed in a suit and carrying a briefcase. His dark sunglasses are a necessity because he has albinism, but they also hide his nervousness. "My heart is beating fast. I have never come to a place like this before," he says.
This is the day he hopes to find answers he has spent years searching for. The trail leads to a witchdoctor who trades in albino potions.
"I would like to find out why albinos keep getting killed. Maybe the secret lies at the end of this path," he says.
Ebongue is a journalist, a rational man who deals in facts. He does not believe in magic, yet he is deeply unsettled about this meeting.
Across Africa, in countries such as Tanzania, Malawi and Ebongue's own country, Cameroon, there is a belief that people with albinism bring luck or have magical powers. This has devastating consequences for those with the condition.
"It is believed that parts of an albino, such as their heart, hair or fingernails, are important to make magical potions - for instance to fertilise the soil, to become invincible, to win political elections or a football match," says Ebongue.
"This is why albinos are killed and mutilated for the parts of their body."
According to a recent UN report, such body parts can fetch prices from $2,000 for a limb to $75,000 for a "complete set" - a whole body.
Ebongue was 15 when his older brother, Maurice, who also had albinism, went missing 30 years ago.
"He went out one morning and did not come back," says Ebongue.
Days later the family found the 18-year-old's body in some bushes. He had been mutilated. "His stomach was opened - I don't know what was missing inside," says Ebongue.
Ebongue's parents tried to give their two sons with albinism a normal childhood - they treated them the same way as their other children - so it wasn't until he first went to school that he realised he was different. His classmates would ask him, "Why is it that you are white and we are black?"
"They were coming to touch my skin thinking that I had put talcum powder on there," he says.
At first he got into fights at school but his parents, both teachers, knew what to do.
"They understood the problem and pushed me to study harder.
"My revenge was that I was always the first in my class."
The trouble was that like most people with albinism, Ebongue had very poor sight, which made it difficult for him to read small print or see the blackboard, even when he sat at the front of the class.
Because of their low vision, children with albinism struggle to read the blackboard in classImage copyright Because of their low vision, children with albinism struggle to read the blackboard in classImage caption

"During official exams there were many times where I had to hand in a blank sheet of paper," he says. "Not because I wasn't up to the task, but because the script was written so small that I could not read it. I had to give back a blank sheet of paper and go out crying."
He swore to himself that he would one day create a library where visually impaired people like himself would be able to read with ease.
Ebongue went to study journalism and English literature at university, where he was the only student with albinism out of 10,000. His uniqueness made him a point of reference in the local community. "People would say, 'Where the house of the albino is, meet me there,'" he says.
By 2007, at the age of 37, he was married and working as a journalist in Buea, in the shadow of Mount Cameroon, one of Africa's most active volcanoes.
It was the volcano that caused a huge crisis in Ebongue's life.
"It is believed that when there is an eruption it means Epasamoto, the god of the mountain, is angry," says Ebongue. "To calm him down they need the blood of an albino."
When the volcano had erupted in 1999, lava flowed down the side of the mountain, stopping just short of Buea. There were no casualties, but the traditional doctors claimed that the town had been spared only because albinos had been sacrificed.
People flee a river of molten lava during Mount Cameroon's 1999 eruptionImage copyright People flee a river of molten lava during Mount Cameroon's 1999 eruptionImage caption

In 2007 there were fears of a new eruption and people were doing "everything possible" to stop it. At times like this, when what Ebongue calls a "general psychosis" takes hold, people with albinism go into hiding.
Fearing for his life, Ebongue decided to go abroad. His wife and three children, none of whom had the condition, were safe - they could follow at a later date, he thought.
He found a captain willing to smuggle him on board a ship carrying timber to Italy, and spent 33 days hidden in the dark hold.
"I was asking myself many questions without answers, so it was mentally and psychologically very difficult," he says.
"I was suffering. I had left my wife and my children, I had left my job, I had left my country, I had left my friends."
Soon after arriving in Genoa, Ebongue was granted refugee status on humanitarian grounds.

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Living in Italy was liberating. For once, his colour was an advantage - other Cameroonians would regularly be stopped by the police, whereas he was not.
"When I lived in Africa I had three enemies: the sun, the people's disgust and the fear," he says.
"Here, I don't have such problems. I feel freer here, I feel free to move, I'm not ashamed."
In his new home, Ebongue found he was provided with specialist sun cream as well as a magnifier, to help him read. He had never seen anything like it before - and when he saw what it could do, he burst into tears. Before it would take him two months to read a novel. With the magnifier he read 10 in a month. "I was trying to make up for lost time," he says.
The experience made him even more determined to build a specialist library in Cameroon.
Magnifiers such as this one can help people with albinism readImage copyright LE PAVILLON BLANC
Image captionMagnifiers such as this one can help people with albinism read
Ebongue soon learned Italian and settled in Turin, where he taught the language to new arrivals, and made a new friend in local journalist Fabio Lepore.
The two men bonded because Lepore, too, has a visual impairment. His is caused by macular degeneration - Stargardt disease - which means he has 2/20 vision in both eyes. "I was lucky because I started to lose my sight at the age of 16, so I could learn how to do without," says Lepore. "I can't drive a car - but I can paraglide."
They began working on a documentary about Ebongue, called Jolibeau's Travels - Jolibeau is the nickname he is known by at home in Cameroon.
And this is why, five years later, Ebongue was standing by the side of a road in Cameroon, about to meet a witchdoctor, and struggling to keep control of his emotions.
"I was there as a journalist," he says. "I wanted to meet somebody who could explain to me the deep roots of those beliefs, and I thought a native doctor could do that."
At the same time, he knew that many people with albinism - among them his own brother - had died at the hands of people like the man he was about to meet.
After a 20-minute walk through the forest, the documentary footage shows Ebongue and Lepore arriving at a clearing in the forest, where some washing hangs on a line next to a rudimentary wooden hut.
The witchdoctor comes out to meet them, wearing an orange tie-dye shirt and shorts. He shakes hands with them all, giving Ebongue a strange look.
the witch doctor and Stephane shake handsImage copyrightSMART FACTORY
"You can see how the sorcerer looked at him, like a treasure in front of him," says Lepore.
"He looked at him like a lion looks at a gazelle."
The men follow the witchdoctor into the wooden hut where he receives clients. They walk past the remains of a ritual he's performed the night before - some sort of animal sacrifice.
Ebongue begins by handing over a present of some whisky, and the agreed fee of 5,005 francs ($8.70, or £6). In return, the witchdoctor gives him some twigs to hold - he does not explain why.
The witch doctor made Stephane hold some twigs throughout the interviewImage copyrightSMART FACTORY
Formalities over, Ebongue asks his first question. "How are albinos considered within the traditions of this country?"
But the witchdoctor isn't really listening. He's staring at the treasure sitting in front of him.
"You do not even know your value. How much you're worth," he says to Ebongue.
"Albinos are in great demand - albinos just like you. From your hair to your bones, you are so sought-after.
"So much so that if we hear that an albino has been buried somewhere we go and find them in order to recover some parts which are really important and help us."
Holding his emotions in check, Ebongue continues asking questions. The witchdoctor says he receives up to four clients a week in busy periods, and that all kinds of people ask for "albino potions" - from farmers hoping for a good harvest to women trying to seduce a white man.
"Are you aware of the fact that the number of albinos is diminishing and that it's not good to kill human beings to make sacrifices?" asks Ebongue.
"People go in search of money. They kill albinos not for the pleasure of killing them but to make money. That is why they get killed," says the witchdoctor.
"Are you not scared that one day the police will come and find you because you work with the bones of human beings?" Ebongue asks.
"What do the police want? Money. If they come we will agree."
After an hour or so of questioning and after sharing some palm wine, the visitors take their leave.
the witch doctorImage copyrightSMART FACTORY
"The only thing I wanted to do was to get out of there," says Ebongue, whose survival instinct had eventually kicked in.
But when he looks back at the footage now, he is angry.
"Each time I watch the interview I'm shocked and I ask myself why I didn't react," he says.
If he could go back, he would do things differently. "I'd ask him whether he's cheating people. I'd be more offensive, more aggressive."
Instead of getting an real answer to the question why people like him are persecuted in Cameroon, all he found was a man out to make money.
Ebongue now wants to stop talking about superstitions and start talking about the real problems of albinism: health and education.
A cancer patient with albinism at the Ocean Road Cancer Ward in Dar es SalaamImage copyright A cancer patient with albinism at the Ocean Road Cancer Ward in Dar es Salaam
Image copyrightHANNAH MCNEIS

Deadly sun
Without the protective pigment melanin in their skin, people with albinism are highly vulnerable to skin cancer. Just 2% of the 17,000 people with albinism in Tanzania (which has the highest rate of albinism in the world) live beyond the age of 40. Now a dermatology centre in the country has developed a sunscreen specifically designed for people with albinism, which could save many lives across the continent.
Listen to the report on Health Check on the BBC World Service

The biggest killer is the sun - the UN reports that in Africa most people with albinism die from skin cancer between the ages of 30 and 40. The problem is compounded by the fact that so many work outdoors in menial jobs, having dropped out of school because they can't see.
Thanks to one Italian donor's generous donation of 11,000 euros (£8,650), Ebongue was finally able to set up the library he dreamed of as a child.
At Le Pavillon Blanc Library in Cameroon's largest city, Douala, visually impaired people can read freely thanks to magnifiers and other vision aids. About 70 people have joined the library, most of whom have albinism. Users currently have to pay a small fee - but Ebongue hopes to get government support for his project soon.
 Ebongue has built his dream library in Douala where people with albinism can readImage copyright
Image captionEbongue has built Le Pavillon Blanc library in Douala where people with albinism can read easily
His aim is to help people with albinism make a success of their lives, to show that they are human beings like everyone else.
He still teaches Italian and presents podcasts for a web-radio station called Cameroon Voice, but the majority of his time and energy is invested in the library.
He travels back to Cameroon regularly to oversee the project and to visit his family, who were never allowed to join him in Italy. After six years of waiting, his marriage broke up. But Ebongue does not feel sorry for himself.
"At the end of the day, my story is a happy story. I went to school, I have a job, I got married, I have children," he says. "There are people who cannot say the same."Listen to Stephane Ebongue speaking to Outlook on the BBC World

Friday, May 13, 2016


Albino Africa


People fear them. They are outcasts, treated with contempt. They are frequently beaten and murdered simply because they are not like other people. Their skin is a different colour.
This is not a film about the African-American civil rights movement in the mid-20th century. These twenty six minutes tell the story of those with the misfortune to be born an albino in Africa today.
In Tanzania, on the East coast of the continent, the number of people born with a total absence of the skin pigment melanin is 8 times higher than the global average. To date, there is no definitive scientific explanation for this anomaly.
In the Tanzanian countryside, albinos are the subject of a wide range of superstitions. Many believe that white-skinned Africans bring bad luck and that they are immortal. It is also thought that their bones can be used to cure diseases or as charms to bring wealth. In Swahili albinos are called “zeruzeru” meaning “ghosts”. Because of these beliefs, people born with melanin abnormalities are forced to live in constant fear.
This film tells the story of Josephat Torner, an activist for the Tanzania Albinism Society. He has overcome his fears and dedicated his life to campaigning against the discrimination of white Africans. He travels from Tanzania's largest city, Dar es Salaam, to Lake Victoria in the north of the country. This is where Torner himself was born and is where the majority of Tanzanian albino communities are located. It is a journey in which he is forced to confront his fears once again.