1 August 2022
Welcome to your Winter 2022 Newsletter, chock-full of good news stories about the difference you're making in Ethiopia.
Hear how you gave fistula survivor Tinishe a new lease on life, get an update from fistula surgeon Dr Ambaye, and hear from young Almaz as she shares her heart-wrenching story for the first time.
Thanks for being an important part of this work. Here's to you!
When Geda’s wife, Tinishe, developed obstetric fistula last year, he was scared for her life. Tinishe had just spent three excruciating days in childbirth, only to learn that her baby was stillborn. Later that night when she awoke covered in urine, she realised she was also incontinent. Word got around in her community. This was too much “bad luck” and she was shunned by her neighbours and friends.
Geda loves his wife and was determined to help her. But, with a lack of awareness about obstetric fistula in southern Ethiopia, he didn’t know where to turn.
After a year of looking for an answer, Geda happened to be at a market while a Safe Motherhood Ambassador (SMA) was giving a talk. He recognised the symptoms she was describing and approached her afterwards for help. Within two weeks, Tinishe received corrective surgery at the fistula hospital in the city. She opted to train as a SMA to raise awareness and prevent suffering in her own community.
You can see from the photo above how happy and proud Tinishe is on her graduation day as a trained SMA. A truly life-changing result!
Geda is thrilled his wife is cured and has found purpose in her life again:
Thanks to YOU – all the champions across Australia who dug deep for fistula support in Ethiopia this year – you’ve funded a year’s worth of fistula treatment and prevention.
Our long-time project partner and one of Ethiopia’s leading fistula surgeons, Dr Ambaye, was humbled and touched by your compassion. She wanted to pass on a message of thanks to you all, in recognition of all that you are doing to support women in need in Ethiopia.
“My name is Almaz. I was born in Addis Ababa [Ethiopia’s capital]. My father died when I was a child and my mom remarried. When I was 11 years old my mom also passed away.
After my mom passed, my stepfather started to harass me and attempt to rape me during the night. He tried so many times and when I shouted, he hit and threatened me.
My neighbours started to suspect [that there was domestic violence] and they reported to Zema Women for Justice [the women affairs bureau] who brought me to the safe house.
When I came to the safe house, I was afraid, had no confidence, and I was also ashamed of what happened to me. After few weeks, I realised I was not the only one whom violence has happened to. And I started to heal.
The safe house helped me a lot to become emotionally and physically well. I continued my education and I got good grades to go to university. After three years of study, I earned my Bachelor Degree in Psychology from Gondar University!
Now I am living in the community by myself and I am working as a counsellor. AWSAD* has helped me to become what I am now… Confident, empowered and happy.
Thank you for all your supports and helping me and girls like me have a happier life!”
This year our project partners, the Association for Women’s Sanctuary & Development (*AWSAD) opened not one but TWO brand new safe shelters in the Afar and Amhara regions of northern Ethiopia.
After 18 months of civil conflict, many thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes. Women and children were especially vulnerable to violence and exploitation. AWSAD saw the crisis unfolding and acted quickly.
With these two new safe shelters, they hope to ease the effects of the conflict and ensure more women and children fleeing violence have a safe space to turn. Did you know it costs AWSAD $50 to cover a month’s worth of meals for one woman at the safe shelter? Any gift you can give today will help them run their shelters. Thank you!
- Patricia, Burrill Lake NSW
Thank you Patricia! This work would not be possible without the care and action from people like you.