The Lubango Business Association
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.).
CEML Christmas 2020