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Dangerous Borders of Albinism

In East Africa, ritual magic, witchcraft and superstition play a large part in the everyday life of many people. One of the darkest elements of the cultural practice includes the lucrative trade of body parts of people with albinism who in some communities are outcast and believed to be cursed. They are killed for their body parts which are believed to posses magical properties including the cure for HIV and cancer.

Gabriel is a five year old Kenyan boy who hails from a village near the border between Kenya and Tanzania. He has a rare form of albinism condition known as Rufous Albinism

His hair is blonde, but his skin is still dark, albeit with a reddish tinge

Due to his condition, the boy has previously experienced three unsuccessful attempts to kidnap him. Kidnappers want to sell him across the borders in Tanzania

The belief that body parts from people with albinism can be used to cure diseases has made their lives a consistent danger. some people even leave newborn babies with albinism in the bush to die.

Gabriel's father sat up every night with a bow and arrow to protect him, and despite his best efforts, there were still attempts to kidnap him in broad daylight.

Kenya's first politician with albinism, Isaac Mwaura, is petitioning for a new law to protect people with albinism. He wants a refuge centre to cater for people who have been targeted or attacked

Gabriel is not blind. but here, he is safer. The school is patrolled by guards to guarantee the security for the children in it.

Thika School for the blind is a Salvation Army institution that caters for children with albinism, as many have problems with their sight due to a lack of iris pigment

Some of the children here have severe conditions that has emerged as they grow

Others have been blind from birth

Gabriel is not the only one with albinism in his class, but his type of Albinism is rare.

The school's head teacher Jotham Makoha said children with albinism were vulnerable and Gabriel would be nurtured at the school

And there is in no way he can fail to afford a smile in learning that he is in safe hands.

Hon Isaac Mwaura grew up in this school.

Many children with disabilities can be challenging to teach. Students with visual impairments, in particular, can be especially difficult to Teaching Guide accommodate because much of learning is a visual process

The school does not have all the resources it needs to serve the students and appeals to well-wishers to for help

Gabriel is safe!

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