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Albinism, a rare genetic disorder characterized by a lack of pigment in hair, skin and eyes affects fewer than one in 200,000 Americans. But in Tanzania, where the incidence is the highest in the world, one in about 1,400 people are affected.
Despite the prevalence there, however, Tanzanians suffering from albinism are faced with discrimination and are often the targets of brutal crimes including murder and dismemberment. This is because witch doctors there have promoted the belief that their body parts and organs contain magical properties that can bring luck and health.
Albino births are frequently not recorded in Tanzania, and they are rarely buried in cemeteries because their bones are likely to be disinterred and stolen, making them an “invisible” population. Photographer Patrick Gries was moved by their stories and has created a photo exhibit called In/Visibility. He talks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about the exhibit and what inspired it.