Salif Keita is a world renowned musician from Mali. He is the first African to receive a Grammy nomination for his album “AMEN” and has been cited as “one of the greatest talents Africa has ever produced”. Through his fame as an international icon, Mr. Keita has raised awareness about the plight of albinos in Africa around the world to millions of people with the help of campaigns, albums, interviews, books, social media, and mainstream media. His foundation is the leading organization in raising global awareness for the cause of albinism in Africa.
Provide health care services
The Salif Keita Global Foundation Inc.(SKGF) provides free healthcare services to hundreds of people with albinism per year. The main health concern for albinos is skin cancer prevention. SKGF conducts skin cancer screenings, pays for prescriptions and doctors visits, along with surgeries and evacuations. Albinos have little or no melanin production, which leaves their skin vulnerable to contracting skin cancers at young ages and often leads to a reduced life expectancy of less than 30 years old.
“Being born albino in Africa is a true tragedy,” says Salif Keita. Why? Because people with albinism are isolated, persecuted and sometimes murdered because of occult beliefs regarding the origin of their white skin color. Specifically, strong spiritual beliefs that albino body parts used in magic potions can lead to success and wealth have created a black market for albino body parts. In addition, the severe heat of the Sub-Sahara region makes it almost impossible for people with albinism to lead normal lives without assistance with alternative professions and protective sun gear. The foundation advocates for people with albinism to exercise their full human rights through the passing of protective laws for their general physical safety, professional insertion and medical treatment with international and government agencies.
Education is an important aspect in stopping the difficult existence of people with albinism in Africa.
In countries like Mali, the rate of illiteracy is as high as 65%. Many people, including those with albinism and their families, rely on past traditions and beliefs about albinism in order to understand the reasons why black parents can give birth to a black child with white skin. Unfortunately, these archaeic beliefs are not favorable to helping albinos because they relate to spiritual explanations rather than the reality and truth of science and genetics which explains that albinism is simply an inherited genetic disorder that occurs in all races. The foundation’s goal is to provide the proper information about the condition, its causes and how to properly care for people who are affected by it.