Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women

by Kupona Foundation
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Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
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 childbirth injury 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; they told her they didn’t have the resources to help her. She needed to go to the regional hospital that was better equipped to deal with an emergency delivery. That is the last thing Lina remembers before she 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 if a mother has access to timely, high quality, emergency obstetric care: access that Lina and her baby did not have.

Lina lived with chronic incontinence for six years as a result of her fistula. 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.

From March 1st-15th, we are joining with GlobalGiving to celebrate the strength and resilience of the women we serve through CCBRT.

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 11 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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Photo credit: Sala Lewis
Photo credit: Sala Lewis

Dear Friends,

2017 was a year of challenges. For many of us, the health, wellbeing and fundamental safety of our global community has rarely, if ever, felt so under threat. There is no denying that the challenges we face in achieving our global goals are complicated, and will not be solved overnight.

Yet that hasn't deterred our team or this community: because 2017 was our biggest year yet.

Thanks to the generosity of our partners and donors like you we were able to mobilize more than $1.5 million in financial and in-kind resources in 2017 to support the continuation of transformative healthcare programs in Tanzania.

That means we were able to deliver high-quality surgeries and rehabilitative care to more people in vulnerable communities. We trained healthcare workers to save the lives of mothers and newborns, and made investments in equipment and systems needed to deliver quality care to the hundreds of people seeking critical healthcare services at our partner hospital, CCBRT, every day. This number doesn't include the hours of advice, and hands-on event support our volunteers and friends also gave so generously. Thank you.

As we enter 2018, we are full of hope and drive. This year, CCBRT has launched a new, five-year strategy, and their vision for the future is ambitious: for CCBRT to be the leading provider of accessible, specialized health services in Africa.

At Kupona, we’ve long believed in CCBRT’s ability to make this happen. They are already a global leader in disability services, one of the largest providers of obstetric fistula treatment worldwide, and a key partner to the Government of Tanzania in the fight to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes. We have no doubt that, in the not-too-distant future, their vision will become a reality. We’re excited to be a part of the journey, and we hope that you are, too.

You have a critical role to play. Donors like you are crucial to ensuring we can deliver quality care to vulnerable people every day. That’s why, this year, we are working harder to make your donations go further.

We’re going to work smarter, and give you more opportunities to capitalize on matches and prize funds. In 2017, through our partnership with GlobalGiving, our community unlocked over $3,000 in bonus funds and prizes through Bonus Days, competitions and matching campaigns, which is the equivalent of 60 additional healthcare workers trained.

This year, we want to build on this success, and do even more to amplify your impact. Stay tuned to our GlobalGiving reports and social media through the year for the latest news on available matches & contests.

With renewed conviction, and the momentum of our best year yet propelling us forward, we are determined to achieve bold gains for the people and communities of Tanzania. Will you join us?

Say “yes” with your recurring or one-time donation, today.

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Asteria (right) & Family Planning coordinator Bola
Asteria (right) & Family Planning coordinator Bola

Dear Friends,

In just a few short weeks, you have given over $16,000 to provide life changing healthcare to the people we serve in Tanzania through our partner, CCBRT. We are so grateful for your support. Thank you.

With just a few weeks left in 2017, we wanted to share an update from the people who translate your generosity into impact. Check out this video to hear a Happy Holidays message from CCBRT’s CEO, Erwin Telemans and Ruth, one of CCBRT's Prosthetist/Orthotists.

“It’s not too late.”

Every gift you give changes lives. It’s that simple. Whether you are ensuring every mother and newborn in Tanzania receives the high quality maternal healthcare they need, supporting critical equipment purchases, or providing life changing procedures for women recovering from obstetric fistula, your support matters for people just like Nurse Asteria.

Meet Asteria

Asteria has been a nurse at CCBRT since 2012, primarily working on the obstetric fistula ward. As part of our efforts to integrate family planning across our programs, Asteria has recently started her training to become a family planning nurse.
“Today,” Asteria explained, “I watched Nurse Janet remove an implant from a young woman. I learned the questions to ask about the patient’s health history and the proper procedure for removal. After more practice, I’ll be able to perform the same technique.”
Serving women who have lived with obstetric fistula has given Asteria a deeper understanding of how important informed choice is for women to achieve their reproductive intentions. She shared, “Many of our fistula patients come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and they don’t know that there are options available – for free – to decide when to have children. Through family planning counseling, they can have the family that they want and that they are able to care for. Family planning gives women time, from one pregnancy to another. This is time for an education, time for employment, time to care for herself and her family.”
Asteria believes that it is essential for CCBRT to take the lead in this area. “At a hospital, you should be able to receive more than one treatment at the same time. Here, parents can bring their young child for eye services and overhear an announcement about family planning on the loudspeaker. Just a few meters away, they can walk into Tim’s Corner and learn about their options to space births and prevent unwanted pregnancies.” Soon enough, they’ll be learning from Asteria herself. 

This is the impact of your generosity. Healthcare workers trained to provide the high quality care that is desperately needed. Thank you for being a part of Asteria’s journey, and the journeys of so many others. 

As Ruth says in the video, it’s not too late to make that difference to somebody’s life today.

Thank you so much for your support this year. You are the driving force behind this life changing work, and we are so grateful. Happy holidays to you and yours.

Warm wishes,



P.S., Set up a new recurring monthly gift via our GlobalGiving project before December 31st, and GlobalGiving will match* your first month’s donation 100%!

*GlobalGiving will provide matches for donations up to $200. Recurring donations must be active for 3 months before matching funds are distributed.

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Meet Fadhila
Meet Fadhila

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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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
$143,986 raised of $400,000 goal
2,030 donations
$256,014 to go
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