Four Tanzanian children living with Albinism, whose limbs got hacked off in brutal superstition-driven attacks back home, have had prosthetic limbs attached.
At only 15, Rutema one of the boys, who speaks with difficulty, has undergone horror after one of the attackers chopped his arm and fingers on the other hand and even tried tried to pull out his tongue and teeth.
But in the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Philadelphia in the United States, Rutema and three other children have found a new lease of life.
“So the first time the Tanzania kids came in, there was not a lot of conversation, they were extremely shy. They kind of huddled together in a pack. And they were scared. They had traveled around the globe to come see us and they weren’t used to us and we weren’t used to them, and there were a lot of awkward moments. And then as they got to know us and they started to open up to me and to the staff and to the therapists. And now when they come you can see it looks like they’re home, said Dr. Scott Kozin, Chief of Staff at the hospital.
The children are getting treatment with support from the Global Medical Relief Fund (GMRF), a New York-based charity that hosts children from around the world who have been injured in conflict or disaster.
“When they first came, I think it was a matter of trust, you know, and for them to warm up and feel comfortable with you, and that was towards the end of the last trip. Now of course this time, they’re much more open,” said the founder Elissa Montanti.
Albinism is a congenital disorder affecting about one in 20,000 people worldwide who lack pigment in their skin, hair and eyes, but it is more common in sub-Saharan Africa.
United Nations officials estimate at least 75 albinos were killed in Tanzania between 2000 and 2015 but the numbers could have be higher in rural areas.