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

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 status quo for thousands of women and girls 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. “I didn’t know what fistula was, and neither did my grandmother. I was so worried.

A volunteer ambassador who had also received fistula treatment through our program 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.

Tausi's story has a happy ending, but her ordeal could have been prevented. 

Thanks to your support, our teams on the ground in Tanzania have trained hundreds of healthcare workers, empowering them with the skills they need to save lives and prevent injuries like obstetric fistula. As the 2017 season of holiday giving launches today, we need your help to reach more women and girls like Tausi before it's too late.

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 to train two maternal healthcare workers, and save thousands of women and girls from a lifetime of disability. 

We hope you will join us today as we help make motherhood safe for many others like Tausi.

With gratitude,

The Kupona Foundation Team

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 Friend,

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 being alive and taking her healthy baby home.

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 newborns they serve.

Meet my colleague Dorcas

Dorcas is our Senior Midwife Trainer, 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

Using stories to build on success.

Your generous support over the last 5 years has empowered our sister organization in Tanzania, CCBRT, to provide training, on-the-job mentoring, critical equipment and supplies to 23 public healthcare facilities in Dar es Salaam, improving the quality of care available to expectant mothers and their newborns. Recent reports have shown incredible progress. Since 2012 our partner sites have reported:

  • A 40% decrease in the maternal mortality ratio.
  • A 14% reduction in the stillbirth rate.
  • A 19% increase in the premature baby survival rate.

Today, mothers and babies in the Dar es Salaam region face a brighter future, and it’s thanks to you.

The data above shows that we’re moving in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go. Thousands of mothers and newborns still die during pregnancy or childbirth each year, due to a lack of access to high quality care, and for every woman that dies, 20 more will develop an injury, infection or debilitating disability like obstetric fistula.

On International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, we reflected on how we can continue to mobilize the support we need for programs working to treat and prevent obstetric fistula while meeting our responsibilities as global storytellers. How do we, as fundraisers, clinicians and global health advocates tell compelling stories without jeopardizing the privacy or dignity of the people we serve?

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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Meet Lidya, photo by Sala Lewis
Meet Lidya, photo by Sala Lewis

Dear Friends, 

We’re emailing to ask for urgent help to secure our place on the GlobalGiving Girl Fund, helping us do more for women recovering from obstetric fistula at the Mabinti Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. These women’s lives were devastated by a lack of access to quality maternal and newborn healthcare. Given your support for our maternal and newborn healthcare programs in the past, we thought you may be interested in showing your support today.

The Mabinti Centre is a project of our sister organization, CCBRT, where women recovering from surgery to repair the devastating childbirth-related injury, obstetric fistula, can be equipped to become entrepreneurs in their communities.

We’ve got one more day to win a place on the Girl Fund, which will give us exclusive access to additional funding and unlock matching gifts that will enable us to reach more women in 2017. But we need your help. We need 180 people to take action by midnight EST on March 15th to help us unlock this opportunity.

How can an you help?

  • Donate: Make a donation of any size via our special Mabinti project page before midnight EST on Wednesday March 15th. Every little bit helps: it is the number of unique donors that counts in this campaign.
  • Spread the Word: Share the link to this project on your social media pages, and encourage your contacts to give, and follow Kupona Foundation on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram  and LinkedIn .

Your contribution, no matter the amount, takes us one step closer to unlocking support and empowering women and girls like Lidya.

A graduate of The Mabinti Centre, Lidya’s story began with tragedy, but was transformed into one of opportunity and triumph. The trauma and grief that Lidya experienced during the delivery of her children is beyond what many of us can imagine. But, losing her first child at just 2-days-old, raising a child with a disability caused by birth complications, and developing fistula on two separate occasions, has only made Lidya stronger.

“When I was admitted to the national hospital to deliver my first baby, my doctor referred me to an intern. They used a vacuum to assist with the delivery. My baby was born with his brain outside of his body, and he died 2 days later.

After the delivery, my legs were paralyzed. My husband’s family bullied me, and told him to leave me because I was damaged, and wouldn't be able to give him any more children. He deserted me. I couldn't even afford the bus fare to attend the clinic for check-ups.

I married again, and had another child. This baby also got stuck during delivery, and was born with a disability. I was leaking. I was so ashamed that I left my husband. I left Dar es Salaam behind and went to live with my grandmother in our rural village. It was there that I read a leaflet about fistula, and realized I could get treatment. I had my surgery in 2005, and got back together with my second husband.”

Scarred both physically and emotionally by the birth of her first two children, Lidya was determined that her third pregnancy would be different.

“I always say that I ‘bought’ my third child. After all of the problems I’d had in the past, I paid to deliver at a private hospital, to ensure that my baby and I were safe. I trusted my doctor, but just before I went into labor, she was called away. She referred me to the doctor who was responsible for delivering my first baby. Once again, he left me with an intern, even though I begged him not to.

My third child was delivered safely, but the scars from my fistula opened again three days after my delivery. I had another surgery to correct it.

I finished my training at the Mabinti Centre in 2012. I now have a successful business. I go to fairs, and sell my products in my community.  

My experience of living with fistula has made me the successful businesswoman I am today. I am now able to pay for my children to go to school, and my income means I can support my own siblings as well.

In its 10 years of operation, the Mabinti Centre has restored a sense of independence, hope, and purpose to 100 women like Lidya.

Please, give what you can by midnight on March 15th, and share this project with your friends and family and encourage them to do the same. Together we can enable Mabinti to empower even more women recovering from fistula in Tanzania.

Thank you.

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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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