Tanzania – Tanzanian albinos are hunted by people from all walks of life, from fishermen to witch doctors and murderers, because their body parts are considered to be “magical” in bringing better health and good fortune.
The threat they face is so great, the Tanzanian government has been opening shelters for hundreds of albino children to offer them some chance of building a life for themselves.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who appointed the country’s first albino MP in 2008, has commissioned task forces to investigate the killings.
In some cases, fathers have tried to murder their own children in the hope of selling them for thousands of dollars. Fishermen believe their hair will help them catch more fish, miners think their bones will bring them diamonds, and witch doctors use their genitals for treatments to supposedly boost sexual potency.
Albino advocacy groups put the number of albino individuals somewhere above 100,000, out of a total population of roughly 48 million people.
Shelters have been opening up in recent years to offer them a glimmer of hope for the future.
Sometimes the parents are afraid of their children, sometimes they are forced to give up their beloved offspring because they fear the prejudices of the people in their own community.