One out of every 15,000 people in Tanzania has albinism, a condition that leaves the afflicted with little or no pigment in their skin or eyes. In some traditional communities of Tanzania and other countries in Africa, albinos, are thought to have magical properties, and their body parts can fetch thousands of dollars on the black market as ingredients for witch doctor's potions to give the user wealth and good luck. A persecuted group in Tanzanian society, albinos have been attacked, limbs amputated and in many cases killed because of superstitious beliefs.
Elissa Montanti, founder and director of the Global Medical Relief Fund (GMRF), was moved by the plight of children living with amputated limbs and decided to bring five of them to live with her in Staten Island, New York while they received free surgery and prostheses at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.
Here, Emmanuel Rutema, 13, laughs with Montanti, left, and interpreter Ester Rwela ahead of his surgery, June 30, 2015.