Albinism is a medical decease characterized by a deficiency of hair and skin pigmentation. This congenital disorder is caused by an insufficiency of a copper containing enzyme, called tyrosinase. This enzyme is involved in the production of melanin, the dark brown pigment occurring in hair, skin, and irises. As this medical condition results in a very light-colored complexion, it makes albinism patients extremely susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. In addition, they often suffer from impaired vision and extreme sensitivity to light. It is estimated that there are over 100,000 albinism patients in China.
About COA (Chinese Organization for Albinism)
People afflicted by albinism tend to be a vulnerable group within any society. They are often confronted with social and cultural challenges, as their medical condition is often a source of ridicule, discrimination and sometimes even violence. Due to ignorance and commonplace superstition, their living conditions are especially difficult in China: They are often abandoned as newborns, refused by educational institutions and suffer from employment discrimination. In light of this situation, it is very important to provide the necessary information, medical aids and mental support for albinos and their families, as well as to make an effort to educate the Chinese society as a whole about this medical condition.
The Chinese Organization for Albinism (COA) is a national, nonprofit organization. It was founded in Xi’an, Shaanxi, in 2008 and has been officially recognized by the Chinese government in 2011. The COA maintains contacts with sister organizations in Australia, the United States and Canada since 2010 and joined the Albinism World Alliance (AWA) in 2012. The COA is managed entirely by volunteers who are directly affected by albinism themselves; The director and founding father of the COA, Lu Guan, suffers from OCA1 albinism. Even though China has witnessed a rapid economic growth, investments in social services are still rather limited. Consequently, the COA has been primarily funded by contributions of its members and sponsored by external non-profit organizations to realize specific projects, making, for example, national albinism conferences possible.
Support to COA
COA needs your help to continue its service to the albinism community. If you or your organisation would like to sponsor COA’s ongoing non profit work with people with albinism, please contact us.
COA says Thank!
The COA wishes to acknowledge and thanks our very generous sponsors. We wouldn’t be able to continue our work as an organisation wholly run by volunteers touched by albinism.
Web Site: www.albinism.org.cn
Web Site(English): eng.albinism.org.cn
Address: No.2 Xinyuan Road, Xi’an City, China (Postcode:710082)