The Fistula Foundation

Rating: 4.95 stars   288 reviews

Issues: Health, International

Location: 1922 The Alameda Suite 302 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  

This amazing organization provides fistula repair and post surgical care that may involve helping them find a job and place to work. I feel so strongly about this organization, that put them in my will. Virtually all the money they get goes right into fistula repair but they also have an excellent outreach program to teach people about fistula, how to avoid it, and how it is fixed. They want to eliminate the shame and stigma that goes hand in hand with fistula.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have absolute trust in this organization to use my donations where they will do the most good. Their work is faithful to the true meaning of charity.

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Rating: 1 stars  

This is a fabulous organization that allows women in underdeveloped countries regain their dignity. What they offer women completely changes their lives. This is the one organization that I support outside of those I can personally visit. They have touched my heart with the work they do.

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

None.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Hello! Jessica from Fistula Foundation here. We're grateful for your wonderful review, but just curious why you only gave us one star instead of five? Your review was so positive, maybe it was an accident? If there's any information we can share to earn four more stars from you, please let us know!

Rating: 5 stars  

I've donated to Fistula Foundation for nearly a decade now. I am very picky about where my charity dollars go, and Fistula is one of the very few that meet my strict criteria. I feel that all the money is well used, transparency is high, management is highly competent and the mission and vision of the charity are clear. They are at the very top of my trusted charity lists.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

The Fistula Foundation is a wonderful charity that our family is extremely proud to support. While spending many years living overseas we have seen the real needs in the world, and have become very picky about the charities we support. This one is on the top of our list. Dollar for dollar, we feel that we can do more good with a donation to the Fistula Foundation that with almost any other charity. Reporting is transparent, money is spent where it will be best used, and the results are clear and tangible. I can't recommend them any more highly. Other charities should follow this model.

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  

Fistula Foundation's life changing non profit organization for women who lost their lives and dignity
becuase of child birth. Any amount of donation you give bring new life for these women. Everyone in fistula foundation deserve apprecation and applause for their hard work.
God Bless!!!!!!!! Yasna

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Rating: 5 stars  

Fistula Foundation's work is real and verifiable. I donate because they change women's lives in the most personal and important way. I am pro choice in my political views; however, when any woman anywhere does bring a new life into this world, she should not have to suffer like they are without the help of the Fistula Foundation. I wish I could donate more but I will send my continued contributions and bless you all for this most life changing work.
Thank you.
P. A. R. Alexandria, VA. USA

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Rating: 5 stars  

Less than $500 will change the life of a woman who likely was forced into marriage and then had a baby before her body was ready to give birth. Years of being ostracized for a medical problem. All solved with just $500 in one donation or in many giving smaller amounts. Charity Navigator ranks this group at the highest level. A gift to The Fistula Foundation is a direct route to helping women in horrible circumstances.

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Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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Rating: 5 stars  

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

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Rating: 5 stars  

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

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