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Determined for her 7-year-old son to attend school despite a life-threatening sensitivity to sunlight, Nadia El-Rami stuck a deal with the school’s director: Mustapha would be allowed in the classroom, but only if he studies inside a cardboard box.
Mustapha Redouane happily accepted the arrangement. He knew his mother’s idea would silence the school’s worries about his condition, a rare genetic disorder called xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP, which can make sun rays and other sources of ultraviolet light extremely damaging to the skin and eyes. The disorder is more common in North Africa than much of the world.