Help us extend essential care across Tanzania

by Kupona Foundation
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Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Help us extend essential care across Tanzania
Dr. Brenda training her team, photo by D. Telemans
Dr. Brenda training her team, photo by D. Telemans

Dear Friends, 

Last week, I partnered with our friends at Women Deliver and #DeliverforGood to talk about inclusion. You can read my full article here.

In Tanzania, 4.2 million people live with a disability and approximately 2.4 million of them are women. Yet their needs and rights are often neglected or overlooked: particularly when it comes to obstetric care.

For an expectant mother living with a disability in Tanzania, pregnancy compounds her vulnerability. Often, she may not have access to information about her own reproductive rights or maternal health services. She may struggle to communicate with providers to understand important health information, or she may be physically unable to access facilities. In most cases, healthcare workers have simply not been exposed to disability inclusive care, and do not understand the challenges their patient is facing.

A mother with a hearing impairment, for example, shared that her nurse was unaware of her condition during delivery. Every time the nurse said ‘push’, the patient thought she was saying ‘wait’ – a dangerous break-down of communication that put the life of both mother and baby at risk. Another mother was blind and had to remind the nurse that she was blind, but not unintelligent or unable to speak for herself.

To ensure a more inclusive environment, our program was designed in collaboration with people with disabilities. The only way to ensure the rights of all women are realized is to give them a voice in the design of their own healthcare services. We made a collective effort to address all needs for information, communication, and infrastructure. This included the training of healthcare providers to ensure sensitivity and equity when working with pregnant women living with disabilities. Investments in infrastructure, including redesigning washrooms and installing ramps, further helped to improve access and inclusion.

Testimonies of changed behaviors among healthcare workers are heartening. I remember a patient with a hearing impairment was very upset when nurses tried to treat her sick baby. When the nurses, who had received inclusion training, used sign language to explain what they were doing, the mother's demeanor changed because she understood what was happening and felt included in the decisions about her child's care.

While great progress has been made, there is still much to be done as we continue our work to ensure that no mother is left behind. Today, I would like to invite you to join me to support training for more healthcare workers in respectful, inclusive healthcare. 

We only have 7 days left to unlock prize funding. Give today through our GlobalGiving project. GlobalGiving will award bonus prizes to the top five projects with the most unique donors before May 13th. Together, we can ensure no mother is left behind.

Thank you for your support.

Brenda

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A woman on the front lines of newborn health
A woman on the front lines of newborn health

Dear Friends,

This is one of our favorite times of the year. With Mother’s Day, International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, International Midwife’s Day and International Nurses Day, May is a month full of opportunities to celebrate and show our support for mothers, their children, and the healthcare workers who serve them.

Starting today, until May 13th, our friends at GlobalGiving will award bonus prizes to the top five projects with the most unique donors. Make a donation of any amount through our nominated GlobalGiving project today, and bring us closer to winning bonus prizes, and supporting more nurses like Ladness.

Frontline healthcare teams in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania face daily battles to provide care that will save lives at birth, and prevent and treat injuries and disabilities with limited resources. But for nurses like Ladness, the rewards far outweigh the difficulties.

“I like being a nurse because it never stops giving. I get the opportunity to learn new things every day…It is very heart-warming to see babies coming here very ill but leaving free of sickness.” 

Ladness works in one of the 23 health facilities supported by our comprehensive maternal & newborn healthcare capacity building program. Thanks to your generosity and the support of our partners, Ladness has received the training and equipment she needs to save the lives of sick newborns, and also identify disabilities at birth for early treatment. She has also been able to empower the next generation of healthcare workers to do the same.

I have been able to pass on the knowledge from CCBRT trainings to untrained nurses and volunteers in the ward. Together, we’ve really improved the management of newborn illnesses and complications.”

That improvement shows. From 2010 to 2016, the quality of maternal, newborn and child healthcare services at Ladness’ hospital climbed from 5% to 85%. That means more lives saved, more women receiving high quality emergency obstetric care, more healthy babies safely delivered, and more children born with impairments referred for the treatment they need.

Thank you for supporting Ladness, her colleagues, and the families they are so proud to serve.

Warm regards,

Abbey Kocan

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Meet Sauda
Meet Sauda

Dear Friends,

Today is the last day of the GlobalGiving Girls Fund Campaign, recognizing and celebrating amazing women and girls across the globe. Thank you so much to all who have given in support of our efforts to empower women and girls recovering from the traumatic birth injury obstetric fistula. If you have not yet had a chance to give, you can do that here for women like Sauda.

When Sauda went into labor with her third child at home, much time passed without any progress, so her husband rushed her to the nearest local hospital. At the hospital, she was examined by a nurse who told her to be patient as she would deliver ‘anytime’.

“I then waited for nine hours without being attended,” Sauda says. “I became so tired and weak. I could not feel any movement of my child. After those nine hours the nurse didn’t think she had capacity to help me anymore and gave me a referral to another hospital. When I arrived at the next hospital, the doctor told me to wait because there was another patient in the operating room.”

After more waiting, Sauda was taken into surgery where her baby was delivered via Caesarean section. Tragically, it was too late: her baby had already passed away. Sauda lay unconscious in Intensive Care for four days. “When I woke up I asked the nurse, where is my child? It was then that I found out it was stillborn.”

The heartbreak of losing her child was only compounded when Sauda realized she was leaking urine steadily. The doctors told her she was living with an obstetric fistula. “When they mentioned to me that I had fistula, CCBRT came into my mind,” Sauda says. “I remembered hearing that they treated fistula, but I did not memorize the numbers to call.”

One day, Sauda’s brother-in-law – who had been to CCBRT Disability Hospital to get a prosthetic device for his child – told them he had the phone number of a doctor who worked at CCBRT. He made the call, and after three months - once she had recovered from her C-section – Sauda visited CCBRT for treatment.

Today, Sauda has received her surgery and is recovering well.

Sauda wants to help other women and girls access the same care she did. “I would like to be an ambassador and explain to other fistula victims what I have gone through, so that they are aware of fistula and where to get free treatment. They should not feel discriminated against and should not isolate themselves from society.”

Thanks to your generosity, and the generosity of like minded partners, to date CCBRT has served over 6,600 women and girls with comprehensive, holistic treatment for obstetric fistula offered free of charge. Through the efforts of the team at The Mabinti Centre, 100 women recovering from treatment have been given the tools they need to become entrepreneurs, rebuilding their lives after the trauma of fistula. And most importantly, we are able to equip women like Sauda to be ambassadors for women and girls with fistula in their own communities.

Thank you for your support!

The Kupona Team

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Ladies training at Mabinti Centre, by Sala Lewis
Ladies training at Mabinti Centre, by Sala Lewis

Dear Friends,

Happy International Women’s Day! Today, we come together to honor the strength, power and contributions of women all over the world.

I have been the Manager of The Mabinti Centre for the last 11 years. In that time, it has been my honor to witness the courage and resilience of the women we serve as they overcame the devastation of obstetric fistula. Our vocational training course empowers women with the skills and confidence to start their own business and become financially independent. As they learn to sew, print, design and manage finances, they also forge new friendships and bravely tackle the trauma this preventable, treatable disability leaves behind. I am proud to walk with them on this journey, and to watch each class graduate with confidence and the tools and knowledge to start afresh.

For our trainees and graduates, this training means a future filled with hope, instead of worry.

When one of our graduates, Janiah, went into labor, the doctors saw her baby was in distress and delivered her baby via Caesarean section. After leaving the hospital Janiah began leaking urine. Her doctors told there had been a complication with the C-section that left her with an obstetric fistula. “I had never heard of [fistula]. I was in shock,” she said. “It was difficult to accept that this had happened.”

After being referred to CCBRT for free fistula treatment, Janiah heard about a place where former CCBRT fistula patients could go to learn crafting, business and other life skills: The Mabinti Centre. She was accepted into our program, and learned sewing, batik, beading, crochet, and entrepreneurship with sessions on budgeting, communications, and marketing. Janiah graduated with the necessary skills to launch her own business a year later.

She soon started to sell her products in her neighborhood and around Dar es Salaam, crediting her Mabinti training as inspiration for the new business venture. Janiah said with confidence “I don’t have a worry. If my husband is gone, I can support my family.”

After her graduation, Janiah went back to the fistula ward to speak with new patients. She told them, “I was like you, and one day you’ll be like me. Everyone who goes to CCBRT will be okay”.

Since 2007, we have trained over 100 women like Janiah, each with their own story and their own challenges. Almost 75% of graduates now run their own business or have a job in the industry. Together, we have transformed The Mabinti Centre into a thriving social business.

This International Women’s Day, join me in celebrating the success of the women who have graduated from our program over the years, and show your support for the women who will follow them. We are set to welcome our next class of trainees this April: a new group of women looking to rebuild their lives through entrepreneurship.

Thanks to our friends at GlobalGiving, every donation up to $250 made through our GlobalGiving project today will receive a 30% match while funds last.* Your donations will help us to train these women as we build up their confidence and skills in a supportive, safe environment.

We hope you will stand with us by making a donation today, and sharing the campaign with your friends and family.

Asanteni sana (thank you very much),

Katia Geurts
Manager, The Mabinti Centre

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Meet Lina
Meet Lina

Dear Friends,

On March 8th, International Women’s Day, we will recognize and celebrate amazing woman across the globe. Today, I want to introduce you to Lina, a woman who embodies the strength and resilience that we see in so many of the women and girls we serve.

When Lina was 15-years-old, she became pregnant with her first child. When she went into labor, Lina endured three days with little progress. On the third day she was rushed to a nearby health center. The doctors there could not assist her, and Lina blacked out from pain and exhaustion.  

“I became unconscious,” Lina says. ”I just woke up and found myself in the regional hospital in a bed. I asked the nurses, ‘where is my child?’” Tragically, Lina’s child was stillborn, and Lina began leaking urine from an obstetric fistula – a hole in the birth canal that developed as a result of her traumatic delivery. Obstetric fistula is completely preventable and treatable, but so many women and girls do not know what it is or understand what is happening to them.

Lina lived with this debilitating condition and chronic incontinence for six years. She survived horrific abuse at the hands of her boyfriend as he berated her for her condition. One day, he struck her on the head with a machete while chasing her from the home they shared. Injured and heartbroken, Lina hid in the bush until her uncle found her and brought her to her mother’s home where she lived isolated and excluded from her community.

Help finally came in the form of a CCBRT fistula ambassador. The ambassador referred Lina to CCBRT for treatment, and last month she received free, comprehensive fistula surgery and rehabilitation at CCBRT’s Disability Hospital in Dar es Salaam. Now 21-years-old, Lina has recovered from surgery, is no longer leaking and is excited about her future as she looks to the next chapter of life.

We need your help to empower women like Lina.

Ways to get involved

  • Make a Donation on March 8th (International Women’s Day). Gifts made through our GlobalGiving project will receive a 30% match while matching funds last.*
  • Share with friends: There are bonus prizes available for projects with the most donations and unique donors, so we need your help to spread the word! Share our posts with your friends and family, and ask them to donate and share too!

Your donations will support vocational training for women like Lina at the Mabinti Centre, our socioeconomic empowerment program for women recovering from fistula. For eleven years, Mabinti has equipped women recovering from fistula with the tools and confidence they need to start their own businesses, and regain confidence and independence. Almost 75% of Mabinti’s graduates own a tailoring business or continue to work in the industry, earning their own income. The Centre is a supportive environment where women like Lina can recover from a debilitating injury, learn practical business skills, and build a brighter future for themselves.

Your support will be instrumental in helping amazing women like Lina rebuild their lives after treatment. Together, we can set them on the path to healing, empowerment, and independence.

With gratitude,
Abbey Kocan
Executive Director

*Donations will be matched up to a value of $250.

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Organization Information

Kupona Foundation

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KuponaFdn
Project Leader:
Susana Oguntoye
Executive Director
Washington, DC - District of Columbia United States
$24,189 raised of $30,000 goal
 
260 donations
$5,811 to go
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