Individuals with Albinism face many obstacles navigating through life. They are prone to light sensitivity, poor vision and social stigmas. In some parts of the world, individuals with albinism live in fear of mutilation and, in some cases, a savage death.
Tanzanian "healers" have longed believed that the bones from Albinos hold mystical and medicinal properties. The bones are crushed and consumed to treat ailments ranging from impotence to cancer. As the use of these healers has increased, so has the demand for the items that they prescribe.
Tanzanian Albinos live in fear of being murdered because of the "medicinal value" of their bodies. Stories abound throughout the country recalling attacks on Albinos. Typically the individual is pulled from their home by bandits, and their limbs are systematically hacked off with machetes. Mutilated and bleeding profusely, the victim is left for dead.
When an attack is survived, the new amputee faces a life of hardship that is unimaginable to many. Prosthetic care is limited and, in many cases, virtually non-existent. In addition to learning to live with their new disability, the survivor continues to live in fear of another attack and suffers from the trauma of the initial assault.
The practitioners at OPC became aware of this situation and resolved to become involved. We had the honor of fitting an amazing woman with Albinism with prosthetic arms. She survived a vicious attack and lost her arms to the bandits, and now travels around the world to spread the message of the plight of her fellow countrymen.
OPC allowed television cameras to film the process of creating and fitting her new prosthetic arms. Originally airing on ABC's 20/20, we are thrilled that the show has been picked up by the OWN Network.
Please watch tonight at 9:00 on the OWN Network. Only through awareness will this ongoing atrocity come to an end.