The world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it
- Helen Keller
Would you like to help me make a difference?
There’s a cause that’s been close to my heart for a while now.
Since the day that I learned of the plight of women suffering from Obstetric Fistula, I’ve wanted to what I could to help restore dignity to the lives of these women.
I want to do something more than just send off my small cheque – and I hope that you might be willing to help too.
If you haven’t heard of Obstetric Fistula before now, what follows is a description found on The Fistula Foundation’s website:
After enduring days of agonizing, obstructed labor a woman’s body is literally broken by childbirth. During labor contractions, the baby’s head is constantly pushing against the mother’s pelvic bone — causing tissue to die due to lack of blood flow to this area. All of that pushing creates a hole, or in medical terms a “fistula”, between the birth passage and an internal organ such as the bladder or rectum. A woman cannot hold her urine, and sometimes bowel content as well.
Her baby is unlikely to survive. If she survives, a woman with fistula is likely to be rejected by her husband because of her inability to bear more children and her foul smell. She will be shunned by her community and forced to live an isolated existence. These women suffer profound psychological trauma resulting from their utter loss of status and dignity, in addition to suffering constantly from their physical internal injury.
It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it, what it must be like to not only lose your child during childbirth, but to then continue to experience both the ongoing physical suffering and being rejected by your own husband and community.
Here in the Western world, we have medical intervention such as caesarian sections and forceps deliveries that have completely eradicated the occurence of obstetric fistulas.
But it’s estimated by the World Health Organization that between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 women in developing countries are currently living with this suffering. And that a further 50,000 to 100,000 develop obstetric fistulas each year.
Is there hope for women suffering from Obstetric Fistula?
The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, founded in 1974 by Drs Reginald and Catherine Hamlin, has treated over 35,000 women, with a success rate of around 93%.
Each year, the hospital (which is the only dedicated fistula hospital in the world) treats approximately 2,500 women free of charge. Many of these women have made the long journey from their villages to the hospital in Ethiopia, with the hope that their fistula can be repaired – and their dignity restored.
I actually want to do something BIG and will be working on a project with the goal of raising $10,000 to change the lives of women living with fistula.
But today, on International Women’s day, I’m happy to just start! Big or small, it all makes a difference. But I do need your help.
What can you do to help change the lives of these women?
1. Make a personal donation to a registered organization
If you’d like to make your own personal donation to support the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia as well as fistula treatment globally, this can be done through the following organizations:
2. ‘Like’ my 10KProject page on Facebook
I’ve created a Facebook page where I’ll keep you updated on my $10,000 goal. If you’d like to be part of helping me to make that happen, you can ‘Like’ the page here.
Together, I know we can make a difference. Wishing you a very happy International Women’s Day!
Further recommended reading:
Photo used in feature image courtesy of bbcworldservice on flickr.