Bibiana and Tindi Mashamba were both born with Albinism, a genetic condition characterized by a lack of melanin pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes. This has presented the girls with numerous medical challenges. Their white skin also doomed them to be outcasts in Tanzania, vulnerable to assault by Black Magic followers intent on mutilating people like them for body parts which they believe hold magical power.

 Hear them tell their story in their own words:  

Tragically, the girls’ mother died when Tindi was still an infant.  Their father died of AIDs several years later. Just three days after their father’s funeral, the girls awoke in the middle of the night to intruders knocking down the door of their unprotected home. Tindi, the younger sister, paralyzed with fear, lay hidden under blankets, a silent and profoundly traumatized witness to the terror, while practitioners of a witchcraft cult hacked off Bibiana's leg and two fingers. Bibiana almost bled to death, but miraculously both sisters made it out alive.  

This is where the African Millennium Foundation (AMF) came into the picture.  Yrneh Gabon Brown, a USC student researching the hunting, killing and persecution of albinos alerted Malena Ruth, co-founder of the AMF, that Bibiana urgently needed help.  Her makeshift, ill-fitting and painful prosthesis desperately needed replacing. Malena contacted Dr. Anthony Scadito, President of the Orthopedic Institute for Children who offered his services to evaluate Bibiana. The Hanger Clinic generously offered to provide Bibiana with a new prosthetic leg to replace the artificial limb Bibi had outgrown.

Malena then arranged for the girls and their guardian, Al-Shymaa Kway-Geer, the first Albino member of Tanzania’s Parliament, to visit Los Angeles and stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Pasadena.  Several months after arrival, doctors diagnosed Tindi with a life-threatening case of tuberculosis, and she spent three months in isolation at Children's Hospital.  A hole was  discovered  in each of Tindi’s eardrums severely impairing her hearing. One eardrum has been successfully surgically repaired, pro-bono, by Dr. Rick Freedman at USC Keck School of Medicine. The second eardrum is awaiting scheduling opportunity.

AFM founder Malena Ruth with Bibiana & Tindi

After a month in Los Angeles, the girls’ guardian was called back to Tanzania.  Because Bibiana’s recovery and rehab was going to be extensive, and Tindi was still hospitalized, Malena Ruth opened her heart and became their new legal guardian.    

It was apparent that the sisters faced many challenges due to severe gaps in their healthcare and education.  However, the girls' medical tourist visas were due to expire. Malena reached out to the USC Gould School of Law.   Students under the supervision of Jean Reisz, co-director of Gould’s Immigration Clinic, were able to obtain asylum for the girls.

Legally blind, Bibiana and Tindi both need additional adaptive instruments to navigate life and participate fully in the world around them.

The specialists who have worked with Tindi and Bibiana, academically as well as psychologically, agreed that a small boarding school setting would provide them with the ideal atmosphere and tools necessary to help them reach their potential. Besant Hill School, an Ojai boarding school with an intimate and nurturing educational environment, seemed suited best for the girls’ unique physical and academic challenges.

Tindi and Bibiana are thriving at Besant Hill School.

For years Bibiana and Tindi could only dream of getting an education.  While attending school in their small village, the girls were taunted by other students who threw rocks and spit at them, and were beaten by their teachers.  As a result, for safety reasons, they were removed from school and kept at home and out of sight.

Now their dreams of getting an education are coming true.  Diligent students, with truly remarkable spirits, Bibiana and Tindi are eager to make up for the years of lost schooling. However, their highly specialized education comes at a cost. Both girls have up to another 3 years of secondary schooling ahead with a yearly tuition of $65,000 each.

Goal #1 - $80,000 pays for the tuition balance for the 2017-2018 school year

Goal #2 - $160,000 pays for Bibi and Tindi's tuition for the  2018-2019 school year

The funds raised through this campaign will go directly to the sisters’ educational expenses. Any additional monies collected will be used to pay for Tindi and Bibiana’s immigration case and their many healthcare issues. Bibiana requires another prosthetic designed to allow her to run more easily and take part in school sports. Tindi also requires surgery to correct damage suffered from tuberculosis.

Celebrating their excellent report cards with friends

We are grateful to the generosity of the doctors who have donated services.  The girls' dental needs were acute. Dr. Laurence Fung at Silicon Beach Dental, Dr. Mark Handelsman at Mark Handelsman Inc, Dr. Ryan McComb at McComb Orthodontics and the West LA Dental have kindly been addressing their situation.   We also want to acknowledge Dr. Rebecca Kammer who first addressed the girls vision and Runway optometry for providing the girls' eye glasses. Lastly, Dr. Samuel Masket, founder of Advanced Vision Care Clinic is currently evaluating and treating their significant vision problems.

Many kind people have responded to the plight of the girls.  However, we still have a long way to go to support the teenagers over the next few years.  We need you to become part of the team.

Tindi and Bibiana hope to return to Tanzania someday to work for human rights.  Currently, going back would place them at great risk and therefore they face an uncertain future.  We firmly believe that if the girls are to find happiness, success and empowerment, education will be their lifeline.  Your donation of any amount helps make their goals a reality.

"Given an opportunity, Bibiana and Tindi will embrace it and run with it.  That’s what drives me to work so hard on their behalf." - Malena Ruth

Bibiana andTindi with Joanna  and  Harriet 

Please become a friend of Bibiana and Tinda Mashamba by making a donation.  Sharing their story is equally important to keep the campaign alive.  We ask that you copy the link below and send it to friends and family.
Watch news story about the sisters at:

  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 9 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 4 mos
  • Anne Costanzo 
    • $100 
    • 7 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 8 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 8 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Harriet Brown and Joanna Lancaster (2)

Harriet Hampton Brown 
Raised $8,276 from 52 donations
Los Angeles, CA
African Millenniun Foundation 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Learn more
Joanna Lancaster 
Team member
Raised $375 from 5 donations
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more