Among fistula patients at our partner hospital in Lubango, Angola, there is a need for a longer term approach to restoration and rehabilitation into community. Their post-operative recovery period has been used productively to train in language and literacy/numeracy, sewing, and craft-making, such as baskets, greeting cards and bags. Your donation funds these important transitional skills, which enable our sisters to earn an income and empowers them to regain their place in their culture.
Women who have suffered from gynecologic fistula, whether due to obstructed labor or sexual trauma, leak urine and/or feces constantly. As a result, many of these women are abandoned by their husbands and shunned by their villages. Because there are more women suffering from fistula in developing nations than there are surgeons to address the backlog of cases, women wait for long periods to have surgery, or may have long rehabilitation periods. We see this waiting time as an opportunity.
Providing these women with a means for generating income enables them to reintegrate more easily into their communities, or to support themselves if they feel they cannot return home. A variety of skills are offered, so women can engage in more than one subject or may choose what is most appealing. Most importantly, these precious women are empowered with the knowledge that they are capable of learning and worthy of teaching.
Almost all gynecologic fistulas occur in developing nations where maternal health infrastructure is weak and women are marginalized citizens. Building confidence in fistula survivors through skills-training and income generation is key to restoring them to their best selves. These women in turn can become teachers and advocates for others in their communities, further changing the perception of what women are capable of when properly invested in and supported.