Dieter Telemans

Dar Es Salaam, TANZANIA

Irene attends her eye appointment at the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT). All albinos are visually impaired due to lack of melanin pigmentation in the eyes. Nine year old Irene is the only albino in her family. She says that when she was small she did not notice that she was different from anyone else. She explains: "My parents made me feel loved and were always positive about my white skin. But as I got older, I noticed people teasing me because I was different. Sometimes it makes me sad, but I just stay quiet and ignore those people. They don't know anything." Discrimination against albinos is a serious problem throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but recently in Tanzania albinos have been killed and mutilated, victims of a growing criminal trade in albino body parts fuelled by superstition and greed. Limbs, skin, hair, genitals and blood are believed by witch doctors to bring good luck, and are sold to clients for large sums of money, carrying with them the promise of instant wealth.

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Dieter Telemans
Dar Es Salaam
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