Hope For Our Sisters, Inc. is happy to provide our fourth impact report on the project that you have so generously helped fund through GlobalGiving. As you may recall, we began this project in order to support our partners at the CEML hospital in Lubango, Angola, as they empower women recovering from fistula surgery with craft skills, gardening lessons, literacy/numeracy education, and teaching in local languages. We refer to this program as Aftercare. Many women who have suffered from fistula have been abandoned by their husbands and families, and are unable to return to their villages and pick up life as it was. Left to provide for themselves in a context that is so different from the life they expected, many women are deeply disadvantaged because of their lack of formal education and skills training.
One of the most exciting developments for this project over the last several months was that a local business association has been formed in Lubango. A member approached the team at CEML, offering Christmas gifts to the women, and a partnership was formed that will allow the women to sell the products they create in the Aftercare program at local fairs that the association organizes. (There is an image attached of CEML's nurses speaking to a group of the association's women about the programs at CEML in which our sisters engage.) This is fantastic news for the women and the program for several reasons:
Women are learning how to manage sales in spaces like a local fair.
The local community is gathering around the women to try to support them as they recover. This is HUGE because fistula tends to carry a significant stigma with it.
Women are seeing how their newly obtained marketable skills, learned in the program, can bring in real income to support themselves and their families.
Women are seeing their inherent value and feeling more confident about what they can achieve.
On a sweet note, our partners reported that because fistula surgeries were slow at the end of the year due to surgical capacity, they celebrated Christmas with a smaller group of women in recovery or awaiting surgery. They were able to present these precious sisters with gifts wrapped in local fabrics, sing songs, and tell the Christmas story in the local language. There is a photo below of some of the women with whom the team was able to celebrate.
This would not be possible without your generous investment for our Aftercare program. We are so thankful to be able to come alongside our sisters as they strive for knowledge that will improve their lives, those of their communities, and the generations coming behind them. We will continue to send quarterly updates on the status of this project, and share photos and individual patient stories as able. Please spread the word if you know someone who might be interested in supporting this endeavor, and follow along on our Facebook page (Hope For Our Sisters, Inc.).
Hope For Our Sisters Inc. (HFOS) is pleased to share our quarterly update with all of the investors in our endeavor to help provide life-saving maternal care through the Maternal Health Fund at the Wellness Clinic in Goma, Democractic Republic of the Congo. Our partners at the Wellness Clinic report that our maternal funds helped to pay for 169 cesarean deliveries between September and December of 2020! Thirty-nine of these women could pay nothing at all and were fully covered by the fund, with the other 130 women receiving partial assistance. There were also 300 women who had vaginal deliveries with skilled attendants in this safe location. Additionally, 987 prenatal visits were conducted! These are enormous numbers of women receiving maternal care in a region where they might otherwise be very under-served. In some places, women will simply be denied treatment if they cannot pay. In such cases, the lives of both mother and baby are at risk for permanent injury and death. Your investments keep these families safe and ensure they receive excellent care.
As we move into the new year, we also want to acknowledge our gratitude for all of your support in 2020. We know what a hard year it was for so many, and the generosity of our followers and investors has blown us away. DR Congo has reported a relatively low number of coronavirus cases and deaths for the duration of the pandemic and the size of the country, but we have to agree with speculation of the health experts who blame lack of widespread testing and death reporting. In reality, the virus may be having a far greater impact than portrayed by the numbers. Please continue to keep our medical partners and the communities surrounding Goma in your thoughts as they seek to fight for health equity, vaccine access, and economic stability, despite many challenges.
Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about this project or HFOS' work in general. We have attached a copy of our 2020 Impact Report so that you can see all of the great work our medical partners have facilitated in Goma and beyond. We also invite you to share our project page with your family and friends! The more awareness we can spread about the great need for cesarean deliveries and maternal care in Goma, the more lives we can touch and change together.
Hope For Our Sisters Inc. (HFOS) is pleased to share our quarterly update with all of the investors in our endeavor to help provide life-saving maternal care through the Maternal Health Fund at the Wellness Clinic in Goma, Democractic Republic of the Congo. Our partners at the Wellness Clinic report that our maternal funds helped to pay for 144 cesarean deliveries between May and August! There were also 211 women who had vaginal deliveries with skilled attendants in this safe location. Additionally, 624 prenatal visits were conducted. These are enormous numbers of women receiving maternal care in a region where they might otherwise be very under-served. In some places, women will simply be denied treatment if they cannot pay, or held on the hospital grounds until their families can come up with any money loaned to them. Our sisters in Goma are able to return home to other children, spouses and responsibilities, enjoying their babies without worries over catastrophic debts, because of what you have given.
One such woman who benefitted from the maternal health fund was 18-year old Gloria. Her story is heart-breaking - she lost both of her parents to the atrocities of war in her village. While living with her uncle, Gloria was raped and became pregnant. With no one to pay her hospital fees, Gloria was a recipient of full coverage for her cesarean delivery because of your generosity. She is pictured here with a healthy baby. Despite all of the sadness in her life, we have hope that this is the beginning of a happier chapter for Gloria and her beautiful child.
Please reach out to us at email@example.com with any questions about the project or HFOS' work in general. We also invite you to share our project page with your family and friends! The more awareness we can spread about the great need for cesarean deliveries and maternal care in Goma, the more lives we can touch and change together.