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Susie Wilson

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Review for The Fistula Foundation, San Jose, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I keep a bumper sticker tucked into the corner of a mirror in the small vestibule of my home which everyone can read upon entering: It says in bright colors, “ A WORLD that is GOOD for WOMEN is GOOD for EVERYONE.” These 11 words summarize for me why it is an honor and privilege to serve on the board of the Fistula Foundation. They form the crux of the organization’s mission.

For almost twenty-five years before accepting the invitation to become a board member—this May will mark my first anniversary— I was the executive director of a program focused on helping U. S. children and teens receive honest, accurate, age-appropriate sex education programs in schools and community agencies. We wanted young people to learn about pregnancy prevention, abstinence, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. We thought students should also learn about sexual abuse, sexual assault and sexual violence prevention. But not once in my almost 25-years did anyone suggest that programs cover information about obstetric fistulas. The reason for that is quite simple: obstetric fistulas no longer are a cause for concern in the U. S.

My hope is that the good work of the countless donors to the Fistula Foundation and the superb work that the staff does to make sure the funds go where they will do the most good for the largest number of women will ensure that in another 25 years, obstetric fistulas will no longer be a problem of great concern among the poorest and most needy girls and women in Africa and East Asia. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could be part of this effort? Remember that the cost of repairing a fistula in one woman is $450, which is a large sum to many, but even a small portion of this can make a difference.

Last year, a group of woman living in Princeton came together to watch the extremely moving, “A Walk to Beautiful,” the film that tells the story far better than I can about young women with fistulas who travel miles on foot and bus to a hospital in Ethiopia for surgery that will restore their lives. After the film, the group decided to form the Princeton Circle of Sisters. Each member would try to donate $450 a year, more or less depending on personal finances. Within a week, we had raised over $4,000. We plan to have an annual event to invite more people to see the movie and join the Circle of Sisters and are even thinking of organizing an annual run/walk to keep raising funds for fistula repairs.

If you are like me, after learning more about the excellent work that the Fistula Foundation does, making your first contribution, or increasing your annual donation, you’ll be hooked. And perhaps you will decide to create a Circle of Sisters in your own town or community.

Together we shall make those words on the bumper sticker become a reality.

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Role:  Board Member