The following is a postcard from Neeharika Tummala, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in India and Bangladesh, about her recent visit to Hope Foundation for Women & Children of Bangladesh.
Cox Bazaar – the world’s longest sea beach - is what I have been hearing since I landed at the Dhaka airport. A major tourist destination and surrounded by hotels, I wasn’t sure as to what kind of NGO I would find here. However, just like in several other tourist destinations, there is no shortage of work to be done. The Hope Foundation is a hospital and specializes is care for women and children. Because of their great reputation, they hold specialized camps periodically as they get funding and expertise from other doctors. When I visited, a fistula camp was close to completion as doctors where some of the women had been suffering for years from an untreated fistula. It felt great to meet a few recovering patients and witness such great work. I think the smile in one of the patient's faces says it all is to what it is like to be free after years of discomfort, neglect and being shunned.
I also met a classroom of women training to be midwives. Hope foundation does great work in community outreach and is interested in things like surveying and collecting data in the community to understand need for pre-natal care. The women are from the community themselves and will become valuable arms for Hope Foundation to understand their community.
Dear HOPE supporter,
We greatly appreciate the commitment you have made to our fistula work since we started. We have made tremendous progress and are happy to report that our work is being fully funded by the Fistula Foundation! That being said, we no longer find it necessary to accept donations for our fistula work when it is being funded fully. We do encourage you, if you would still like to give, to donate to supporting our Mothers' Clubs as they are instrumental in identifying and recruiting fistula patients for us, as well as critical in our education and prevention methods. Please check our website for updates on our fistula work as we start the new year and prepare to improve maternal health in bigger strides: www.hopeforbangladesh.org. Thank you again, with your support so many women have been helped!
Dear HOPE Supporter,
I would like to take this time to tell one of HOPE's fistula patient's stories so that you can understand just how your donation is making a huge impact. Thank you again for your support. It means so much to these women.
Firoza’s story begins at an incredibly young age. Firoza was just nine years old when her parents married her off. At age 15 she became pregnant for the first time and was unaware that she should see a doctor to receive antenatal care. Firoza was in labor for eight days. The traditional birth attendant nor her parents realized that she was in great jeopardy of losing her baby’s and her own life. The moment the baby was born still, the traditional birth attendant left Firoza, a scared young girl with complications and the sadness of her stillborn child. Her husband had not come for the delivery, and upon hearing that his child did not make it, he filed a case against Firoza’s parents, claiming they were to blame for the death of the child.
Firoza was suffering from both stool and urine incontinence. A stay in the Chittagong Medical College afforded Firoza the opportunity to have reparative surgery for her fistula. Unfortunately, it was solely the stool incontinence that ceased, and she continued to suffer with the urine incontinence. It was a blessing that Firoza could receive her second surgery for fistula at HOPE Hospital free of charge, as the poor woman, now 25, could never afford the payment for two surgeries. The doctors who worked with Firoza are optimistic that one day Firoza will be completely healed. She is now living with her brothers and earning her own living. As she is so young, she truly has her entire life ahead of her. Unfortunately, Firoza requires additional surgery and care as the second surgery was not successful. This is common with women who have complicated cases, especially in girls who are incredibly young delivering their first child. HOPE and Firoza are dedicated to a full recovery and a bright future for this young woman.
Dear HOPE Supporters,
HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh is excited to announce that we are the recipients of two new grants dedicated to our Obstetric Fistula Program! A grant from Dining for Women affords us to create a specialized Obstetric Fistula team to support the work of our Fistula surgeon Dr. Nrinmoy Biswas. This team includes a physician, two nurses and an outreach coordinator. This team will allow us to conduct more surgeries, provide advanced care and reach out to hundreds of more women suffering from this debilitating condition. We could not be more excited to see the increased level of patient care and the immense awareness raising and outreach that will take place with this fantastic new grant.
The second grant has been awarded to us by the Henry E. Niles Foundation. This grant will fund a project called “From Sufferer to Survivor”. We will recruit fistula patients to be trained as seamstresses and be employed in our workshop amongst other fistula patients so that they may produce their own products and start their own independent businesses. For years these women have been unable to work and relied on the financial support of family members. We want to encourage them, re-build their confidence and assist them in becoming independent again. In choosing only fistula patients we are building a community in which they can support each other, making it easier for them to reintegrate into society upon working on their social skills. Don’t forget, these women were hidden away in the homes for years prior to their surgeries and need some time to assimilate once more.
HOPE Foundation will be able to conduct so many more surgeries and reach so many more women in need. We could not be happier and we thank Dining for Women, the Henry E. Niles Foundation and supporters like YOU who have gone above and beyond to help fistula victims in need. Our most sincerest thanks for all of your support.
Please stay tuned to see all of the new faces of women who will be served by this critical program.
HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh has been extremely busy in the past few months! Despite Cyclone Mahasan that hit our village of Cox’s Bazar, we have continued to provide lifesaving health care services to those most in need. HOPE Foundation has held two cleft surgery camps in collaboration with our recent partner Smile Train, working tirelessly to give those children a second chance at life. HOPE also received a visit from our obstetric fistula surgeon, the world renowned Dr. Steven Arrowsmith, and put on an obstetric fistula repair camp during the cyclone! Because of these efforts, 18 women are now cured of their incredibly debilitating condition. In addition to providing high quality health care to thousands of women and children, these specialized care camps make HOPE a place for advanced medical specialty, which is rare given just how rural and remote of areas we are working in.
HOPE has formed new partnerships as well. On top of gaining new corporate sponsors, HOPE is now partnering with Resurge International, a California-based organization that conducts medical missions to cure burn, trauma and cleft in the world’s most desperate of places. In South Asia, more children die of severe burns than HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Respiratory disease! This is due to the fact that women and children use open fire cooking pits to cook and light their homes. Often times their clothing is too loose from the body and catches on fire. Other times children are playing too closely to the fire and lack adult supervision. We are now working to address these severe burns and provide reconstructive surgery to hands and feet that have been rendered useless due to burn injuries. HOPE is looking forward to October when Resurge International will come to Cox’s Bazar and provide 50 surgeries to disabled individuals!
In the near future HOPE will be expanding its educational and training opportunities for rural women and girls, and provide not only them with a livelihood and advanced skill, but also be increasing the capacity of Cox’s Bazar to help bring themselves out of poverty. In educating more girls in the health care field, we are giving them the skills training that will employ them for the rest of their lives, while helping the community build better access to trained health care workers. It is essential that we continue to build the capacity of the region in which we work, as it is the most sustainable way forward. HOPE wants to ensure we are always giving back to these people in the most appropriate and generous form.
Thank you for your incredible support to HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh. Without YOU, we could not do any of this lifesaving work!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.