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

Dear Friends,

On Giving Tuesday, our team called you to action in support of the people we serve – resilient people like Tausi. We shared what the potential impact of your generosity could mean, and even heard from the team at our sister hospital in Tanzania, CCBRT.

If you didn’t get a chance to hear the special video message from CCBRT’s CEO, Erwin Telemans, and the women who are directly impacted by your support, you can view it here.

On Tuesday, the call went out, and you didn't disappoint. Our community mobilized over $6,700. With these gifts, we can empower healthcare workers and give vulnerable communities access to healthcare services that will change their lives.

For women like Fadhila, your donation means that there is hope beyond devastating childbirth injuries like obstetric fistula, and, crucially, that those injuries can be prevented with access to high quality healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth.

“I had no idea what was happening to me”, Fadhila said. “I didn’t know what caused it or what fistula was. I could tell my neighbors were afraid of me. Some of them said having children caused this, others told me I was being cursed by witchcraft”.

After receiving free, high quality fistula repair surgery at CCBRT, Fadhila went home with confidence and began to educate her community about what fistula is and that it is both treatable and preventable. This is your generosity in action, empowering and changing the lives of thousands of women and girls each year.

We are so grateful.

If you didn't get the chance to give on Tuesday, good news! GlobalGiving has just launched a second round of prize funds, giving you another chance to amplify your impact. From now until December 31st, GlobalGiving will continue to award cash prizes to the organizations that raise the most funds, and also to those who mobilize the highest number of unique donors. It’s not too late to play your part and unlock the potential to change lives this holiday season. Make your gift today.

Thank you so much for your support. Wishing you a happy start to the holiday season.

With gratitude,

Abbey Kocan, Executive Director

P.S. Don't forget to spread the word to your friends and family. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and share the posts that inspire you this giving season!

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Meet Tausi
Meet Tausi

Dear Friends,

Happy #GivingTuesday! On this international day of giving, we have so much to be thankful for. Why? Because this past year, you have helped change the lives of thousands of people - resilient people like Tausi

When Tausi was 17-years-old, she suffered complications in labor. Unable to access timely, high quality medical care, Tausi lost her baby. She also developed a devastating childbirth injury called obstetric fistula. Scared and confused, Tausi had no idea what to do.

Thanks to your support, Tausi is one of thousands of vulnerable people who receive free, life changing treatment at our partner hospital every year. As the 2017 season of holiday giving launches today, we need your help to reach more people like Tausi.

It was a volunteer ambassador who had also received fistula treatment through our program that connected Tausi to our partner in Tanzania, CCBRT. “I was full of joy to hear that this condition was treatable for free. CCBRT has changed my life!” Tausi says.

Please join us TODAY, #GivingTuesday, and help us unlock the potential to change more lives.

Our friends at GlobalGiving are helping us celebrate today by offering $100,000 in prize funding. The Fund increases the value of every dollar you give, proportionally. For example, if we receive 10 percent of the total donations made today, we will receive 10 percent of the prize funds. 

Just $100 would have ensured that Tausi made it through her delivery without injury. Only $100 for two maternal healthcare workers to save lives and prevent a lifetime of disability at birth.

We hope you will join us today as we help restore joy and hope to many others like Tausi.

With gratitude,

Abbey Kocan, Executive Director

P.S. You may have mistakenly received an email from us on November 21st. We apologize for the mix up. This technical glitch has now been fixed, and you should only receive our updates via Project Reports from GlobalGiving in the future. Thank you for your understanding.

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Sara Safari at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Sara Safari at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Last week, we were delighted to receive an honorable mention on GlobalGiving's Top 10 List of nonprofits committed to impact. The team at GlobalGiving highlighted our commitment to respectful storytelling, particularly when it comes to sharing the stories of the women and girls we serve. The truth is, it’s our community that deserves this recognition. Without you, our committed supporters, we wouldn't have any stories of impact to tell.

Our community amazes us every day.

Earlier this month, one of our newest supporters brought our efforts to empower women and girls recovering from obstetric fistula to new heights. Earlier this month, Sara Safari climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in support of the women and girls we serve. As part of her challenge to become the first Iranian in history to climb all Seven Summits, Sara aims to raise $19,000 for Kupona Foundation - $1 for each foot of Kilimanjaro. In 2015, Sara survived the Nepali earthquake while climbing Mount Everest to fundraise for the empowerment of Nepali girls. Since the earthquake, her efforts to empower women and girls have intensified. We are honored that Sara has chosen Kupona Foundation as her charity for the African continent, and we will be cheering her on as she conquers the Seven Summits.

Since we started fundraising on GlobalGiving six years ago, we’ve raised over $74,000 across three projects.  Our community’s creativity and passion keeps us motivated, and helps us to bring life changing healthcare to the thousands of people we serve each year. People like Elian.

Elian’s story

Elian’s story is one of thousands of silent tragedies that occur every year in Tanzania, as women give birth without access to quality medical care. Elian told us, “I was admitted to a hospital in Dar es Salaam when I started to feel labor pains. After two days, nothing had happened and they sent me home. Eventually, I went back to the hospital. I was in labor for six days in total. It was then that the doctors told me I would be lucky if my baby was still alive.”

Mercifully, Elian’s baby did survive, but Elian did not emerge from the trauma unscathed. The damaged caused by such a prolonged labor was so severe that Elian started leaking both urine and feces uncontrollably. “My husband and I were the only people who knew. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone. I didn't even tell the rest of my family. I thought I was going to suffer from this for the rest of my life. But my husband always stayed positive, and always believed we would find a solution. I lived with this problem for three years. I couldn't go anywhere. I was too terrified that I would have an accident. I finally heard an advertisement on the radio, and realized that I could get treatment.”

Elian’s surgery did so much more than just repair the physical damage of fistula. It restored her confidence, self-esteem, and her sense of belonging. “Now I no longer have to make an excuse to leave a place five minutes after I arrive, in case I have an accident in public.”

Whether you scale mountains like Sara, run marathons, sell cakes, host dinner parties or  support our work with recurring or annual donations, you are bringing life changing healthcare services to people like Elian, who wouldn't be able to afford the healthcare they need without your support.

Let’s build on our shared commitment to impact

Are you inspired by Sara’s story? Why not start your own fundraiser on GlobalGiving in support of Kupona Foundation? We’re here if you need help.

You can also join us in celebrating your commitment to impact this month by sharing why you choose to support Kupona Foundation on social media. Just copy, paste and complete the posts below!

  • Facebook: I support @KuponaFoundation because….
  • Twitter: I support @KuponaFdn because…
  • Instagram: I support @kuponafoundation because…

Thank you for all that you do for people and communities in Tanzania.

Best wishes, 

The Kupona Team

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Photo credit: Sala Lewis
Photo credit: Sala Lewis

Dear Friends,

Just one week ago, you helped us raise over $5,000 with matching funds on GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day. That amount means 106 nurses in Tanzania will be trained and equipped to respond to emergencies with confidence and clinical expertise.

A skilled provider at the time of birth means a pregnant woman in Tanzania has a better opportunity to experience the joy of taking her healthy baby home. It means we can identify disabilities at birth, and refer a child born with an impairment, like cleft lip or clubfoot, for early treatment.

Together with the rest of the CCBRT team, I thank you for your generosity and support that has allowed us to do the work we do. It is gratifying to see our work over the last six years bear fruit and contribute to a significant improvement in the competency and confidence of the nurses trained. The decline in the number of maternal deaths in the region is encouraging and motivates us to persist in our efforts.

Every day, I see your impact with my own eyes, but what is unseen is the hope that invigorates the healthcare workers on the ground to know that people so far away care about them and the women and children they serve.

Meet my colleague Dorcas

Dorcas is our Senior Midwife Trainer for the team that will train those 106 nurses.

“I train medical teams in all 23 of our partner facilities,” she says. “I work to empower the maternal health teams with the mentoring, training and resources they need to save more lives.”

“One of these facilities serves 70,000 people every year. In 2011, my team performed an assessment to identify the facility’s quality of care. It scored 2% (perfection is a score of 100%1). While staff were dedicated to helping mothers and babies, they did not have the equipment, tools, or skills to provide high-quality care to their patients.”

“Over the last six years we have worked closely with staff to collect data, find the gaps in equipment and skills, and identify the key challenges. We have tailored our training to address the root cause of the problem and teach the intervention needed to solve it.”

“In November 2015, this facility’s quality of care had improved to 87%. I was so proud. As the skills and confidence of service providers increased, so did the number of babies delivered safely to their families. In 2011, the facility delivered 406 babies. In 2015, the staff assisted with 1,386 deliveries, with zero maternal deaths.”

Friends, this is your generosity in action.

I’m so thankful to be on this journey with you. On behalf of Dorcas and my team here in Tanzania, thank you for making this life saving work possible.


Dr. Brenda D’Mello. OB/GYN


1. Measured by Standards-Based Management and Recognition (SBMR) assessments, developed by Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University.

Meet Dorcas
Meet Dorcas
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Photo credit: Sala Lewis
Photo credit: Sala Lewis

The Impact of Language & Respectful Storytelling.

As storytellers mobilizing support through compelling narratives, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to do so without jeopardizing the privacy or dignity of the people we serve.

On International Day to End Obstetric Fistula and for the past few weeks, we asked ourselves, and our partners, an important question:

How do we, as fundraisers, clinicians and global health advocates talk about fistula without imposing our own narrative and excluding women living with fistula from their own stories?

How do we talk about fistula?
Obstetric fistula is one of the hardest topics in global health to discuss. It is challenging to explain this invisible, relatively unknown condition without difficult details. Women living with this preventable, treatable disability are some of the most vulnerable women in the world. Each has survived a prolonged, obstructed labor, which could have killed them, only to survive with lifelong morbidities.

Women who survive obstructed labor often lose their baby. The babies that survive can suffer lifelong neurologic disease caused by reduced oxygen levels during labor. These babies may suffer paralysis and developmental deficits. In addition to the chronic incontinence that comes when a fistula develops, the women who survive this dangerous labor often experience foot drop, infertility, internal scarring that prevents normal sexual relations, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

When a woman returns home with a fistula she is constantly leaking urine, feces, or both. As a result, she will often face stigma and rejection from her own family and community. Every day, we see the devastating effects harsh words from misinformed family and community members have had on the women who receive free, comprehensive treatment from our sister organization in Tanzania, CCBRT.

“Some of [my neighbors] said having children caused this, others told me I was being cursed by witchcraft”. ~ Fadhila

“My step father influenced my young siblings by telling them that my condition was contagious and that they should keep away from me. They were always laughing at me.” ~ Mercy

Thanks to your support, and the support of partners, CCBRT Disability Hospital can provide counseling and therapy to address the emotional and psychological scars left by fistula. They also conduct national awareness raising campaigns to battle the misconceptions surrounding the condition. Coordinating one of the largest comprehensive fistula programs in the world, over 1,000 women were served through CCBRT’s program in 2016.

Fistula in her words
We asked twenty women and girls undergoing treatment at CCBRT how they identify themselves and prefer to be identified by others; they chose words like ‘mama’, ‘businesswoman’, ‘entrepreneur’.

Not one person we spoke to wanted to be thought of as a ‘patient’ or a ‘victim’ of obstetric fistula. The women and girls we serve do not want fistula to define them or their place in their community. As global storytellers, it is imperative that we tell these women and girls’ stories on their terms.

The power of an international platform
Kupona and our partners are in a privileged position, able to give a voice to women and girls who often struggle to make themselves heard even before they are faced with severe trauma. We are inspired by the strength and resilience of the women and girls we meet, and we strive to communicate that when we amplify their stories.

We reflect on this important issue in more detail in our latest blog post. Click here to hear the perspectives of our friends at Fistula Foundation, Johnson & Johnson and EngenderHealth. On International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, we also convened the #HerWords Twitter chat in partnership with CCBRT, Johnson & Johnson and Fistula Foundation. Check out the highlights from the conversation here on our Storify.

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Organization Information

Kupona Foundation

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KuponaFdn
Project Leader:
Susana Oguntoye
Executive Director
Washington, DC - District of Columbia United States
$25,280 raised of $30,000 goal
283 donations
$4,720 to go
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