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Striking Portraits Of Children With Albinism Raise Awareness Of Their Plight In Tanzania

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While we grew up with toy stores populated by action figures and Barbie dolls, today’s children have way more options.

Mala Bryan created her line of dolls, Malaville, to add more diversity to the doll market. With dolls that run the gamut from dark pigmentation and 4b curl pattern to light skinned with freckles, she is revolutionizing what it means to create toys every child can see themselves in. But her latest addition to the line is a stand out: Alexa is a doll with albinism.

“People with albinism exist in real life, so dolls with albinism should be available in the doll world,” she told CASSIUS. Bryan said she hopes that children and adults will learn a little bit more about albinism and not treat people with this condition—who lack melanin in their skin, hair, and eyes—like they are different. She hopes they will come to understand that this condition doesn’t negate their beauty.

She also strongly believes that these toys are more than just play things—they’re learning tools used to navigate the world. She wants to bring light to the struggles that people with albinism face on an international level.

“During my research about people with albinism, I discovered that many of them in parts of Africa live in fear for their lives,” she said. “They’re hunted and killed because of certain myths and I am hoping to bring light to things such as these through Alexa.”

So far, Bryan says the feedback on Alexa has been “absolutely amazing.”

“I am so happy that I went through [with] her,” she says. “Although some people had doubts, I knew in my heart it was the right move.”