$81,999 of $160,000 goal

Raised by 599 people in 17 months
UPDATE DECEMBER 2018 – help fund another year of schooling for Bibi & Tindi

In December 2017 we started a certified charity fundraiser for the education of Bibiana and Tindi Mashamba, two remarkable young orphans from Tanzania born with albinism who have suffered extreme physical and emotional trauma.  They came to the United States four years ago seeking medical treatment and asylum.  Thanks to the kindness and generosity of so many people the girls were able to begin making up for the years they were deprived of schooling after a horrendous assault and ostracization from society in their homeland.  Bibiana and Tindi have had many challenges including language, ongoing medical needs and legal blindness which makes class participation extremely difficult.  Despite all they have endured, these determined and resilient girls have been diligent students who have consistently received high marks on their report cards. We are again reaching out for help in raising another $80,000 to allow them to continue the excellent education they are receiving at Besant Hill School – a boarding school in Ojai, CA.  that can accommodate their unique needs.  Any money raised over the goal will be used to defray their many medical costs.  Bibiana badly needs a computerized artificial knee which would reduce the number of falls she has with her current leg and would also allow her to run, dance and climb stairs more easily – like other kids.  Unfortunately, the cost is about $55,000.  

With your help Tindi and Bibiana can continue on their path to success, a chance they so greatly deserve.  We are also asking that you join hands with us and help spread the word to your friends.   (Please read more about the girls below.)

Joanna Lancaster – educator/filmmaker
Harriet Brown - writer/designer

Bibiana and Tindi 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 Albinos 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:  



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Bibiana and Tindi Mashamba send their heartfelt thanks to the many donors who have been helping fund their education at Besant Hill School, a boarding school in Ojai addressing their special needs. They sincerely wish their many supporters and families the best of the season and a great New Year.
In the spirit of the season Joanna and I are writing in hopes that you will be able to help us once again with Bibiana and Tindi’s education journey. The girls are now in their second year at Besant Hill. They have been diligent students making impressive progress after the many years they were denied an education and are both consistently earning excellent report cards. Though the school has awarded some financial aid, the balance of this year’s tuition and incidentals presents an enormous hurdle for us to cover – about $80,000.
If you can make a tax deductible donation of any amount, we would be most grateful.
We feel very fortunate to have come this far and pray that we can find a way to keep the girls in a school where they are making such progress. If we raise more than our $80,000 goal, there is another important use for the funds: Bibiana badly needs a computerized artificial knee for her prothesis which would reduce the number of falls she has and would also allow her to run, dance and climb stairs more easily – like other kids. Unfortunately, the cost is about $55,000 and it is not covered by insurance.
I cannot stress enough how grateful we would be for any help you could give us. These sweet girls greatly desire an education that so many take for granted – one that will equip them for the difficult future they face.
With your help Tindi and Bibiana can continue on their path to success, a chance they so greatly deserve. We are also asking that you join hands with us and help spread the word to your friends. (Please read more about the girls at the website and help spread to the word.) https://www.gofundme.com/helpbibiandtindi

With gratitude,
Harriet Brown & Joanna Lancaster
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UPDATE from Harriet Brown & Joanna Lancaster
Regarding Bibiana & Tindi Mashamba

Shortly before Christmas 2017, we started an emergency GoFundMe campaign to enable two remarkable girls, Tanzanian Albino orphans Bibiana and Tindi Mashamba to return to the boarding school they were attending, Besant Hill School in Ojai, California.

We want to again thank the compassionate donors who made their return to school possible, and Bibiana and Tindi wish to express their gratitude for the many messages of love and support. This update is to let you know how hard they are working. Thanks to your incredible generosity, they are making impressive progress.

Despite having to master a new language and coping with partial blindness caused by albinism, the girls are swiftly making up for missed years of schooling. This summer, they are enrolled in advanced placement courses at Santa Monica City College.

Since we began the campaign, Bibiana and Tindi have received two excellent report cards from Besant Hill. Their goal is to maintain their high grade point averages throughout high school, so that they will one day receive college scholarships.

The sisters, who suffered extreme physical and emotional trauma in the past, are determined to overcome their obstacles, study hard and eventually go to college. Besant Hill School was chosen because of its ability to meet Bibi and Tindi’s many special needs and provide them with an excellent education. However, completing their high school education at Besant Hill comes at a high price.

Tuition and fees for each girl costs about $65,000. Even after receiving partial scholarships we are still in arrears of about $20,000 for the past year. Unless we pay off that balance and demonstrate that we will have the means to pay for the coming year, the girls will not be able to return.

We don’t like asking you to dip into your pockets once again after you have given so generously, but that is exactly what we are doing. Even the smallest gift can make a difference. Or, perhaps you could help spread the word. We would love to hear feedback with any ideas regarding support from a foundation or person who might underwrite part of the tuition needed.

Early donors may want to see the updated site and view the touching short film with Bibiana and Tindi that Michael Singh posted. https://www.gofundme.com/helpBibiandTindi

We also invite you to have a look at the interview with Cher Calvin at KTLA in June.
Again, thank you and please pass the word.
Harriet Brown & Joanna Lancaster
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Read a Previous Update

$81,999 of $160,000 goal

Raised by 599 people in 17 months
Funds raised will benefit:
African Millenniun Foundation
Certified Charity
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Beverly Hills, CA
EIN: 954787785
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