The name Bibi means “Lady” in Mali. Bibi also means “My Love” in Arabic. I like to call Madame Maly Sangho “Mama Love” because this is what she epitomizes. She is all of the above and much more.
I met Bibi through a kind hearted, enterprising teenager named Alejandro Ernst. Alejandro lives in DC with his family. He visited Bibi’s orphanage on a school trip to Bamako, Mali a couple of years ago. It was a long trek from DC to Mali but young Alejandro managed to navigate multiple countries with 5 duffle bags filled to the hilt with donations for Bibi’s orphans. The orphanage home is called Orphelinat Niaber and their registered NGO name is Asemali. In reality Bibi’s personal home has always been a refuge for asylum seekers and orphans. Bibi was born in the historic town Timbuktu. Growing up as a child she learned from her mother to never turn a blind eye on someone in need. In 1993 Bibi decided to formalize her efforts to help abandoned babies and founded a foreign non profit (NGO) called Asemali.
I was deeply touched by Alejandro’s story as he continues to help the orphanage to this very day. I visited Bibi and the babies in June of 2012. Nothing could have prepared me for the trip that lay before me. The abject poverty, dismal conditions and the tragic reality of new born babies being abandoned in hospitals and on the side of the road was more than I could bear. Through it all Bibi’s efforts to help her fellow countrymen/women and children has been unwaivering. Click here to see a video of Bibi during better health times at the orphanage. She has been an unstoppable force answering every desperate plea for help, hearing about sightings of babies who were being abandoned and doing spot checks in the middle of the night to make sure the recently arrived malnourished babies were receiving constant care. It was a wonder if Bibi slept 2 hours each night. I urged Bibi to take care of herself. To eat better, to unplug the phone, to go on a spiritual retreat or to do anything that would help re-energize her physical batteries.
But she was incapable of turning a blind eye and her breakneck pace continued as the war in Mali raged on. With her orphanage over flowing with refugees she started developing chest pains. Eventually her chest pains got worse and she was flown to Tunisia where she was admitted into a hospital. Fortunate for Bibi one of her daughters works for an airline and as such was able to provide Bibi with a family travel pass. When Bibi finished her treatment her daughter arranged to have her flown back to Mali so she could resume her role at the helm of the orphanage. Over the years Bibi has received many humanitarian awards. Years prior she received the Malian Chevalier des Ordres and on April 3, 2013 she was being honored as the Malian Mother of the Year in Istanbul, Turkey. While she was in Istanbul she collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. This is when they discovered Bibi had a brain tumor and she had to undergo surgery. Bibi’s surgery was a success and she returned home to Mali. I marveled at Bibi’s resilience and ability to bounce back from one illness after another. I was relieved until I recently received a frantic call from her daughter, Tina Traore who lives in the United States. She brought Bibi to the States because she was retaining water, so much so that her skin was splitting. I could not believe my ears. I was dumbfounded and amazed that this brave woman and beacon of light for the downtrodden seemed to have no health respite in sight. My heart ached for her and what she was going through.
Today is Bibi’s turn to receive help instead of being the one to give it freely and lovingly. Please read below about the “Saving Bibi Campaign“ as help comes in many forms:
1. Write Bibi a message on our blog. Talk to her. Learn from her. Get to know her as she needs to read your words of encouragement.
2. She needs a laundry list of medicine! If any of you have connections with the pharmaceutical industry, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. The medicine she needs for her seizures is called Keppra.
3. Make a donation so we can purchase the medication she needs. Here is our PayPal link to “Make a Donation“. After you enter all of the pertinent information, the second screen will allow you to specify that you want your donation to go towards “Saving Bibi” (ie purchasing her medicine and/or paying her doctor bills).
4. Make a check payable to Bridging Humanity and make a notation on the bottom of the check that it is for “Saving Bibi“. Mail the check to Bridging Humanity at 3426 Franklin Avenue, Miami, Florida 33133. Upon receipt we will send you an acknowledgement letter and tax receipt.
5. If you have any additional ideas, doctor connections or suggestions please email email@example.com.
Bridging Humanity is a volunteer based 501c3. Our Federal ID number is 45-5515265. All proceeds and donations go directly to fund the projects we support as specified by our donors. None of the funds donated are used to cover administrative costs.
On behalf of Bridging Humanity, Bibi Sangho, her family and the Orphelinat Niaber orphans, we THANK YOU!
May God and Allah bless us all.
Founder of Bridging Humanity