The Fistula Foundation

Rating: 4.95 stars   288 reviews

Issues: Health, International

Location: 1900 The Alameda Suite 500 San Jose CA 95126 USA

Mission: Fistula Foundation works to heal women suffering from obstetric fistula by funding treatment, surgeon training, and medical equipment. To date, we have funded fistula treatment in 28 countries.
Results: Fistula Foundation is the largest private charitable foundation not accepting government funding supporting fistula treatment globally. Wherever possible, we work to empower dedicated local doctors in developing countries. We fund fistula surgery, surgeon training, the building of hospitals and operating rooms that are dedicated to fistula surgery, as well as “mobile” care clinics in rural regions of the world where no hospitals exist. Would you like to know more? The real heroes are the partner organizations, the surgeons and the patients. All around the world, miracles are happening for young women living places like Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. We invite you to take a moment now to visit our website and to learn how our donors' dollars are being put to work. Learn about the challenges of healing women in war zones and meet dedicated local surgeons who work every day to treat women who are suffering. Why wait? Take the journey with us right now. Let it inform you, and perhaps deepen your own life and perspective.
Target demographics: the one million women worldwide who currently suffer from the childbirth injury obstetric fistula, which renders a woman incontinent until she can receive a reparative surgery, like those our donors help us fund.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 4,321 women receive free, safe fistula repair surgeries. We also helped our partners at 38 sites in 19 countries by funding medical equipment and supplies, by funding surgeon training to expand the pool of surgeons who are able to perform more complex repairs, and by working with our partners to increase patient access to care.
Geographic areas served: countries throughout Africa and Asia
Programs: obstetric fistula repair surgeries, patient identification, education and transportation, the training of obstetric fistula surgeons, and providing supplies and equipment to partners when needed to ensure that surgeries are conducted in as safe an environment as possible.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I first learned about The Fistula Foundation after reading Half the Sky. After reading more about obstetric fistula, I felt that no woman should ever be denied participation in her community because of trying to bear a child. I decided to honor my mother's memory a year after her death by encouraging my family and friends to donate to the Love a Sister program. We raised enough to sponsor one woman's surgery, and I decided to continue my support by making monthly donations on my own. I know that if my mother had known about this organization and its aim, she would have been deeply moved by their mission.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I don't know the logistics and money that go into it, but I would love to see holiday greeting cards/postcards/ecards that I could send to my family and friends so that more people could learn about the great work The Fistula Foundation does.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

We have donated time and money over the years to help people and animals, but no other donation even comes close to giving us the feeling that were truly making a change in the world as the ones we have made to the Fistula foundation..When you take a moment and really think of the pain and endless suffering these young women endure, it is heart breaking..For the price of a weekend in the city, you can give a woman her life back, end her misery and she can become mentor to other women..I often wear the beautiful scarf that I received from Fistula foundation, when people ask about the meaning on the scarf logo, I am happy to tell them about this foundation and their hard work, and what a wonderful outcome it would be if they would donate as we have...Elizabeth and Donald Kaneshige

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Try to let more people know just how awful the fate of these women will be if left untreated...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

When I first learned about Fistula, I had a beautiful and healthy toddler in my life. I could not believe that such birthing conditions could exist anywhere in the world. Today my daughter is the same age as these young girls... When she was little, I would ask for donations to this charity in lieu of birthday presents. She had everything she needed but they didn't. After all these years, it is still the charity that is the nearest and dearest to my heart.

Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

First, this Foundation has TOP rating on Charity Navigator (means EXCEPTIONAL re finances, transparency and results)! Aside from that, not long ago I did not know what a Fistula was. I believe it was Nicolas Kristof's work in the New York Times that made me aware. As a mother of 2 children I know what labor is like and I feel blessed to have the healthcare I have now and had when I was pregnant. I also have a daughter and cannot imagine her in difficult labor at a very young age (any age) and ending up with a fistula and thus shunned by the whole village. The important work which this foundation does is not that complicated, they are just missing the funds to do it more broadly. I believe that women need to be much more supported than they are in society especially in developing countries. I too get teary at the thought of what some of these women endure. Dignity is such a basic right that we really take totally for granted. This foundation is earnest and effective in its work (as well as with its communication with donors) and I am very very happy to be able to help.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

This charity represents a condition that has the potential to change not just individual lives, but whole communities. A fistula can leave women isolated and unable to contribute to the community socially or economically, which can have huge knock-on effects for the individual and their dependants. The Fistula Foundation works to improve lives so is one of the most effective charities I know of.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Partner with maternal health charities to prevent the need for fistulas.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 4 stars  

The Fistula Foundation serves a community of women who would otherwise remain forgotten, neglected and suffering. I heard about this foundation through "Half the Sky" and was amazed (and saddened) that I had never before heard of such severe conditions surrounding the lives, community and health of these precious and deserving females. May the Fistula Foundation grow in support and effecacy so that the number of women enduring such experiences diminishes to non-existance.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase awareness by means that do not reduce the services already provided. Ask gynecological physicians to display posters and/or informative materials in their offices as a means of getting the word out there. Provide more non-professional volunteer opportunities to assist in these efforts.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

I first learned of the Fistula Foundation when Dr. Catherine Hamlin was interviewed many years ago by Oprah Winfrey. I was shocked by the horrible circumstances of the young women with leaking fistulas. I sent a check that day and have become a long term donor, often in honor of women in my family at holidays. (Birthdays or Christmas) I have also recommended this non-profit to a good friend, who has family working in Africa to control the AIDS epidemic; and she has become a supporter. We believe in, and trust, this very worthy organization and the people who work for it.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

I learned about the suffering induced by fistula through Kristof and WuDunn's Half the Sky and about this foundation working to restore life through the Mothers' Day Movement. After donating in honor of mothers in my life, I was incredibly impressed by the communications from the foundation and how they steward even small gifts to heal and restore. I will donate to them again.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

I think the first time we heard of the Fistula Hospital was on the Oprah show. My wife and I have been going to Ethiopia as missionaries/volunteers since 2002. We thought we would check it out. Wow were we impressed. The facility was well maintained and the care provided was excellent. We have been allowed to tour the hospital and interact with the patients. We were treated with respect and I had the feeling that every person who came to the hospital was treated as an equal. It didn't matter weather you were a patient or Oprah. The staff is professional and the whole place is focused on helping the patient, many who are still young girls who should never have gone through what they have. The vision to help them and give them a second chance at life is a sacrifice few people attain to. Supporting this cause is not a waste.
There is nothing fancy for Dr. Hamlin to live in and nothing is wasted. When we last met her in 2012 she was still operating at 87.
I was impressed that what was a bare hillside when she arrived had been transformed into a small paradise, and Dr. Hamlin knew the biological name of almost every plant, much which was planted with her own hands.
There is a joy in helping the helpless, especially those, who through no fault of their own, are cast aside by society. There is no way to put a price on what Hamlin Fistula Hospitals has done for these precious girls, and no praise high enough to those who labour selflessly.
Sincerely, Jack Verburg, Canada.


If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

NONE..it is first class....

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Whenever I spend money on something that seems like a luxury to me, I put aside the same amount to donate to the Fistula Foundation.Their work is so concrete and so important. I don't believe that I can afford new boots when there is a woman in the world who cannot be a part of society because she is isolated by the horror of a fistula. I love giving to the Fistula foundation because it is really clear that the money I give has a direct impact and is used to improve lives efficiently and with heart. This is a great organization, well run and deeply important and addressing a cause that few people know about, and all of us should care about.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful?