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October 16, 2014

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October 16, 2014

These people are among the rarest of the rare: a charity that doesn't spend inordinate amounts of your donations on "fundraising," "board members" or other nonsense that doesn't directly help the people they want to help. The women they help are among the most powerless and downtrodden humans on this earth: women with obstetric fistula.

It all begins with a community that disrespects women; little girls are fed last, given only the scraps of meals. that means they are chronically underfed, malnourished and very small for their age. Little girls are expected to do heavy work from the age of two, toting water and wood that an adult American would find too heavy. At the age of nine or so, a little girl is married to a man picked by her family and often a stranger to her. She usually knows noting about sex or contraception in an effort to make sure she is a virgin for marriage.

Thus little girls of age 12 or 14 are pregnant and expected to give birth to sons with no obstetric care or any intervention. When she goes into labor, she is sent into her hut with all expecting her to emerge ten or twelve hours later with a baby (preferably a son). When a day or two, or three go by, some of the people in her village may take action. Someone might pull the dead baby from her exhausted body, or she may manage to push the dead child out. But the worst is yet to come: the head of the dying child, stick in the birth canal, has stopped the blood supply to that section of the birth canal and the urethra. From then on, this poor little girl is incontinent. If fate is truly frowning on this poor child, she will also be incontinent with feces and urine. Either way, her life has ended, as far as her family, village and husband are concerned. She will be discarded, sometimes living in a tiny lean-to she builds herself, shivering alone at night as she waits to die.

The Fistula Foundation takes in these women with no regard for payment, and for the first time, she learns that she is not alone and cursed, she simply has a medical problem that will be cured (most of the time). She is given good food and plenty of it, and after her operation and recovery, is sent home with the first set of new clothes she has likely ever seen. She can now return home with her head held high, live with her family (or husband, if he hasn't totally discarded her), and be the woman she wants to be.

The cost of treating a case of obstetric fistula is pitifully small: about $500 for everything. A tiny amount considering the benefit it provides. I give because I hope and pray that my donation helps one of these girls and because I know that it is only an accident of birth that allowed me to be born in the developed world, to have plenty to eat, a chance to be educated and to marry when and whom I choose. I give because I am blessed and hope to pass my blessings along to those who have been seemingly forgotten. I can only thank the Fistula Foundation for bringing attention to these girls and helping them to have normal, dignified lives.
October 16, 2014

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October 16, 2014

I follow their progress and donate to Fistula Foundation for years , it is a solid foundation backed with years of experience and true results. On a personal note i believe that Dr Hamlin should be nominated every year for a NOBEL prize and that she deserves one , it is our obligation if we can to help women get back their lives and dignity even more women in Afica . Maria
October 15, 2014

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October 15, 2014

Fistula Foundation does amazing work for women who are relegated as untouchables in their communities. They're an amazing organization.
October 15, 2014

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October 15, 2014

Hello, I am proud to have been the FIRST person to join the "Love-a-Sister" campaign many years ago: (https://www.fistulafoundation.org/pdf/newsletters/Winter_2005.pdf, page 5). I donate each month to The Fistula Foundation and am thrilled that so many people have found their way to this wonderful organization. We who can, need to support the health and well-being of mothers and children the world around. Thank you Fistula Foundation for this opportunity to do so.
October 14, 2014

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October 14, 2014

The Fistula Foundation literally gives women back their lives and dignity. Their staff are the equivalent of miracle workers. I learned about this foundation from an article in The Nation magazine in which certain charities were recommended. As I read more on their website I was moved and felt so much gratitude for their mission and staff. I am honored to donate on a yearly basis.
October 14, 2014

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October 14, 2014

I became aware of the Fistula foundation in 2007 after watching lovely Dr. Catherine Hamlin making a plea on Oprah for support of this foundation she started with her husband many years before ...at that time the organization was in dire need of financial support ...my heart went out to all those women who thru no fault of their own were robbed of their dignity way too early in life and forced to live as outcasts for the most --- and I was very impressed by Dr.Hamlin's courage to do something about it!
So... I became a supporter then,and still am one on a regular basis throughout each year - and even though I have other charities I like to support the Fistula foundation always had and always will have a special place in my heart! It's been a true gift to watch over the years how fruitful all efforts have been,and the restoration of dignity being brought to so many women thru a relatively simple medical procedure - thank all of you who keep this work going so very much!!!
October 14, 2014

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October 14, 2014

Every month when I send a check, I wish I could send more.
October 14, 2014

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October 14, 2014

As Louis C.K. put it, the folks who do this important work are a "good and blameless bunch". I'm so grateful to everyone at the Fistula Foundation for doing what they do to change women's lives. These women have been through such horrific experiences, and then are left to face a life of being shunned and shamed for something they had no control over. It is heartbreaking to say the least. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone at the Fistula Foundation.
October 14, 2014

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October 14, 2014

I was first made aware of The Fistula Foundation and the problems these beautiful women were having from the Oprah Show. It touched my heart and I have been making donations to this fantastic organization every since. What a privilege it is to have a small part in changing someone's life! This organization is amazing.
October 14, 2014

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October 14, 2014

I first became aware of this problem after seeing a television current affairs story on Dr Catherine Hamlin (a great Australian!).

Women and girls in developing countries are disadvantaged enough without being shunned and ostracised by their communities for a condition that is rare to
non-existent in developed countries.

I will continue to support this great cause and spread the word about it.

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Become a Fistula Foundation Circle of Friends Ambassador. Do you feel others should hear more about these women whose lives are devastated by fistula? You can be their voice. Our popular Circle of Friends program is designed for people like you who want to do something more. Bring YOUR circle of friends together and make a difference. It's that simple. Help others in your community learn about our global work and efforts to restore dignity, one woman at a time. And why not have fun while you're at it? Invite your friends, colleagues and neighbors to a fundraising or informational event such as a video screening or evening out featuring stimulating discussion. For more information, please visit our website. Volunteer