26 August 2016

Tanzanians With Albinism Granted Asylum in the U.S

Dar es Salaam — Two teenage sisters living with albinism have been granted asylum in the US due to fear for their lives in Tanzania.

The students from the University of Southern California Gould School Of Law (USC Gould) helped them launch a legal process to seek asylum which has been recently approved.

Tindi Mashamba and Bibiana Mashamba who were born with albinism, a rare genetic condition, had been in the US since last year but were staying using a tourist visa, which was about to expire.

The duo were flown to the US to enable Bibiana be fitted with a prosthetic limb and fingers.

Bibiana has had her right leg and two fingers of the right arm chopped off in an attack in Mwanza region in 2009 when she was 10 years old.

Her sister, Tindi escaped the attack by hiding in the room. They, fortunately, were rescued by the former MP Al-Shaymaa Kwegyir, who brought them to Dar es Salaam and took them under her care.

She stayed in hospital for a year where Bibiana received prosthesis but it could not help her relieve pain.

The African Millennium Foundation then paid for the two sisters to go to the US where Bibiana, eventually was fitted with a prosthetic limb at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles.

The better prosthesis and physical therapy helped Bibiana enjoy some of the physical freedoms she longed for.

People living with albinism are attacked in Tanzania and some other African countries because of superstitious beliefs that their body parts can be used to get wealth or bring in good luck.

Several people living with albinism have been attacked and others injured since the incidences started being reported to the pilice in 2006.

Since January 2015, eight incidents of attacks or attempted attacks have been reported.

In January 06, 2015, four-year- old boy, Karim Kassim, narrowly escaped abduction in Nyakato Ward, Mwanza City.

In January 17, 2015 a one and a half year- old boy, Yohana Bahati, was found mutilated and murdered after he had gone missing two days earlier.

In March 07, 2015 in Rukwa Region, Baraka Cosmas a six-years-old boy has had his right hand severed.

In the neighbouring Katavi Region, Limi Luchoma, a 30-year-old female has had her right arm chopped off on May 14, 2015.

In June 16, 2015 in Ugembe Ward, Tabora Region a six-year- old girl, Margareth Khamis, was abducted but efforts to sell her failed.

In October 21, 2015 in Mkuranga District, Coast Region Mohammed Said, 35, was attacked and sustained head and right ear injuries. In December, 08, 2015 in Lushoto Ward, Tanga Region Ester Togolai Maganga, a 70-year old woman was attacked and her left thumb chopped off.

In a similar development Said Abdallah, 47, has been missing since January 31, 2016 from Mtipule Village, Mkuranga District.

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