When I was a young woman, barely more than a girl, I was pregnant. I planned on giving birth at home, just like I had with my other babies.
But when I went into labour, something was different. The baby wasn’t coming out. For two days, I cried and begged God to end my suffering. And at last, the baby came.
It was a son. But he never took a breath.
I felt such shame. My neighbours whispered about me, saying I must have done something bad for God to punish me like this.
I smelled bad and was always sad. My children didn’t want to come near me. Relatives and the community were not there for me. I wanted to die.
Your donation goes to our local project partners called Healing Hands of Joy who are on-the-ground in Ethiopia and who run fistula awareness, prevention and treatment campaigns in remote and rural communities where maternal healthcare is scarce.
Part of your donation goes towards transport, surgery and pre/post-operative care costs for a woman suffering from fistula. Part will act to train former patients as Safe Motherhood Ambassadors to teach about safe childbirth. Finally, depending on a patient’s circumstances back home, part of your donation may go towards a micro-loan so she can start a small business, earn reliable income and lift herself out of poverty.
Your donation for women with fistula is needed now more than ever. Even outside of the coronavirus, Ethiopia does not have enough maternal health services. Fewer women are coming in to hospitals and clinics for pre-natal care and safe delivery - some because they don't know these services are still running, some because they cannot travel and others because they are fearful of the pandemic. We cannot allow COVID-19 to cripple Ethiopia's maternal healthcare any further. We cannot allow more women to fall by the wayside and ensure high-risk childbirth because there's no other option.
Your donation today ensures that help remains available for expectant mothers and women with fistula. That even during a crisis, they are not alone, they are not forgotten and they need not suffer needlessly.
Until one day, a woman named Berke came to our village and was saying there was a cure for my condition.
I went with her to the nearest hospital, three days away walking. I had surgery and when I woke up, I could control my urine again. Oh, the relief! I was so happy; it was a joy I hadn’t felt in decades. Now, I am cured!
When my granddaughter fell pregnant last year, I told her all about being safe during pregnancy and childbirth. I helped her to attend a birth centre. And my granddaughter had a safe birth. A wonderful birth.
I feel like I am a positive force for good in my community now.
Thank you for caring and thank you for listening to my story.