Hope For Our Sisters, Inc. is happy to provide our sixth impact report on the project that you have so generously helped fund through GlobalGiving. 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.
In the period since our last report in May, over 60 women were seen at CEML for fistula surgery. Some of these surgeries are very complex and take multiple hours, so this is a significant amount of women helped and cared for by our medical partners. With the realization that COVID is not going away soon, and the hospital is still seeing patients, many women felt empowered to come for a surgical assessment. Some showed up after having had to cancel treatments that were originally scheduled for 18 months earlier! The Aftercare program has been busy teaching all of these women. There are classes on making necklaces and earrings, which are new and exciting. Women continue to teach other women basket-making skills and how to use sewing machines.
One especially wonderful story was of Tinah. As a young woman, the staff at CEML initially found her to be very quiet and shy, but she warmed up to the group and became known as outgoing and funny, making everyone laugh. She had an unexpected and nearly fatal bout of bleeding after her surgery. No one from her village had accompanied her, but the staff was able to keep her calm and get her through the episode, which she survived. She wanted to share the story of her experience with her church and community, and will hopefully also bring back some of the skills and knowledge she has learned in her Aftercare classes to better the women around her, creating ripples of change and hope.
This would not be possible without your generous investment in our Aftercare program. We are so excited to be able to come alongside our sisters as they strive for knowledge that will improve their lives and change their communities, making their nation a better place for girls in the coming generations. We will continue to send reports every few months, and share photos and individual patient stories as able. Please spread the word to those you know who might be interested in our work, and follow along on our Facebook page (Hope For Our Sisters, Inc.).
Earrings made in Aftercare Classes