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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Fistula Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, International, International Development, Specifically Named Diseases

Mission: Fistula Foundation is committed to ending the suffering caused by the childbirth injury obstetric fistula, because we believe no woman should endure a life of misery and isolation simply for trying to bring a child into the world.

Results: Thanks to the support of generous donors in 60 countries around the world , Fistula Foundation now funds more fistula surgeries than any other organization. To date, have partnered with more than 150 hospitals and clinics in 31 countries. In 2014, we launched a countrywide treatment program in Kenya, and built an integrated network of hospitals, surgeons, and community outreach organizations. This groundbreaking model delivered tremendous results-- in just three years, we provided thousands of surgeries, trained six surgeons, and conducted over 10,000 outreach events. We seized the momentum in 2017 and launched a second nationwide program in Zambia. Making strong progress in our first year, we trained two surgeons and brought together four hospitals. Between the two networks in Kenya and Zambia, over 3,800 women have already received treatment. Gifts from supporters like you have helped us transform the lives of more than 31,000 women across Africa and Asia. We are deeply grateful, but we know there is still so much work to be done. For every woman who receives surgery, an estimated 50 more wait. With continued focus, together, we can end fistula in a generation.

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: In 2017, we helped 6,685 women received free, safe fistula repair surgeries. We also helped our partners throughout Africa and Asia 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: Since adopting a global mission in 2009, we have partnered with more than 150 hospitals and clinics in 31 countries in Africa and Asia.

Programs: We fund 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.

Community Stories

675 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I was moved to donate after a PBS documentary about obstetric fistula. I can't imagine have a fistula but not being able to have it treated. I'm proud to support the Fistula Foundation monthly.

Donor

Rating: 5

Transparent and effective. I feel very confident that my money is doing good when I donate to the Fistula Foundation.

Donor

Rating: 5

Great mission. Great organization. Global impact.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation performs the sort of niche medical assistance that affects many beyond the patients they heal. To treat a woman with a fistula is not only to return her to her family and her society: it is to make her an ambassador to her world, demonstrating in herself the value of resisting fatalism by taking action to alleviate suffering, the value of modern medicine in changing the course of a life, and the value of women to the prosperity, health and well-being of any society or nation. The Foundation does so much and it should be helped to do more.

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Donor

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation specifically addresses a tragic health crisis for women, which makes its work unique among non-profits in the field. It deals with both the dearth of obstetric services in developing nations as well as civil violence in the form of rape, directed not only adult women but also female children. It is judicious and efficient in its use of resources, and directly effective in its results. What more can one say for any such foundation?

Pam R.2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been supporting this wonderful, important organization since the early 2000s when I heard Dr. Hamlin on the Oprah show. Because I rarely watched Oprah's show, I have always felt it was a divine appointment. I was so moved by Dr. Hamlin's story and the commitment she and her husband had to these women. It has been exciting and a real privilege
to support this organization and watch it grow these past 20 yrs. I have told so many of my friends about the Fistula Foundation over they years and they have started supporting the mission, as well. It is a well-run, transparent, multi-level organization. I love the way they communicate both facts and personal stories in their newsletters. It is a deep desire of mine to some day be able to visit one of the hospitals.








Mal W.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a member of the Fistula Foundation board of directors, I visited hospitals and health centers in Kenya recently along with my wife and other members of the board. I was hugely impressed with the dedication and skill demonstrated by the surgeons and other health professionals supported by the foundation -- and deeply moved by the stories of the women we met both before and after surgery to repair their wounds. The foundation's work in Kenya is part of an ambitious but feasible effort to eradicate obstetric fistula in one country. And a second countrywide program is already underway in Zambia. There will be more. I have worked with hundreds of charities in my 40 years of professional involvement in the nonprofit sector. But I have never seen a more effective organization.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been involved with the Fistula Foundation for nearly a decade, including service on the board for the past two years, but I've never been prouder than I am now. This past week, our Executive Director, Kate Grant, had a phone meeting with the Islamic Development Bank. As Kate just reported to our board, the bank has "a new president and are planning a significant program to combat fistula in five countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Gambia and Sierra Leone), three of which we work in. They have followed our work and are very interested in our Kenya and Zambia country-wide models. We will likely work closely with them to provide ‘open source’ access to our plan, lessons learned and results, to help enable them to succeed where they are working, and to dovetail their work with ours in countries where we have partners." The Fistula Foundation will receive no funding from the bank. Our collaboration with them is strictly in support of our mission to eradicate obstetric fistula. Anyone who closely follows the nonprofit sector will be aware how rare it is for one organization simply to help another working in the same field.

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Donor

Rating: 5

Thanks for allowing such a great opportunity to really help reduce suffering of women with this terrible condition.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been supporting the Fistula Foundation since I first became aware of them through a guest appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show. My continued support is the result of the excellent work that they do, the way they use funding for maximum benefit, and the way they communicate results to donors like me. Thank you to Fistula Foundation for the work you do and giving me a chance to be a part of your mission.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation makes a lasting difference in the lives of the women it helps. Few organizations can rival the beneficial impact they make on the lives they touch. I am honored to support their life changing work.

Joanne22

Donor

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation restores dignity and health to women injured by difficult deliveries in places where medical care is minimal. I appreciate the opportunity to support them in their mission.

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Donor

Rating: 5

I love supporting the Fistula Foundation because they are able to transform lives of women and their families in a very effective way. The surgical repair of obstetric fistula gives each woman the ability to be part of her community and to help others.

Lois14

Donor

Rating: 5

I’ve been contributing to the Fistula Foundation for several years. They deal with a widespread problem on a human, person-to-person scale. They work to heal women and help them reclaim & restore their dignity. When they said that a donation of $586 could pay for a surgery and hospital stay, a new dress and a bus ticket home for one woman, I couldn’t resist. It’s a clear, direct and effective way to make a meaningful contribution - sister-to-sister.

Bev B.2

Donor

Rating: 5

I received information about the Fistula Foundation through the mail.
I was so touched by the accounts of the girls and women who were being helped by these wonderful doctors and workers. The girls who are forced to marry young and do not receive the needed obstetric care. Their babies are trapped in the birth canal and many of the babies die. The girls are torn inside and leak urine or feces through the vagina.
Then they are forced to leave the home because of the drainage and smell. These girls and women are ostracized when they need love and care. I only give to a special few charities and I am honored to be able to give to the Fistula Foundation.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation is an excellent charity that helps women and girls who have suffered a type of childbirth injury that can be physically and socially devastating. The Foundation does work that helps out residents of developing countries and allows them to thrive. They are definitely worth your donation.

Jean Walker F.

Donor

Rating: 5

I first learned about the Fistula Foundation about 7 years ago. I was so impressed with their story that I immediately found out how I could help. I donate to this excellent charity every year. Their work is extremely important, and significantly improves the quality of life for these unfortunate women.
Thank You Fistula foundation and all you that work with them for the service you provide.

Donor

Rating: 5

Fistula Foundation is doing important work to help improve the quality of women's lives. Donations go farther to make a difference, with a larger portion going to program costs and less towards administration. Supporting this organization is helping them do life changing work.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation is doing wonderful work to improve women's lives. They have transparent accounting to show very lean operations. This allows a really high percentage of donations to go directly towards programs that make a difference. The work they do is so important and life changing for the women they can help. Everyone can change a life, and donating to The Fistula Foundation is a great place to start!

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Donor

Rating: 5

It is obviously far beyond a man's ability of realization of the suffering of a women for childbearing complications and toll on health. As I came to US from a third world's conservative country I know, how many women and girl has to dedicate their whole life to bear children after children, and men who are the decision maker of the family and that man dominated society just use women's body as a child bearing machine. If any women is not good for this job then she has no value on that society. Moreover, no one realize even without child bearing, due birth defect, accident, sexual violence, early marriage... for many reason so many women suffer many kinds gynecological problem silently, that no one even mentioned. People of USA, even women could not able to imagine how, in backward society full of religiously obstructed protocol just put a tons of shame on those women and through them to an impossible struggle alone.

Why we let them to live a life like that? We should bring every record of their silent pain to account and help to raise awareness and funds for their treatments. As I donor, I sincerely appreciate the Great job that Fistula Foundation is doing to break that silence. We should be committed to help on their efforts. Thanks.

Carleen S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We lived in Addis Ababa in the 1970's when my husband was assigned to the Naval Research Unit there....NAMRU2...he was a medical entomologist and he worked on insect borne diseases such as Malaria and Relapsing Fever. Our American Wives Club worked on a project with the Hamlins at the Fistula Clinic they started. Our job was to make skirts and blouses for the girls after they completed their surgery and were ready to return home. We also provided the money to pay for thieir bus trip home.
We made the skirts and blouses out of border print sheets that we ordered from the states with our military privileges. We made them so "one size -fits all." They were quite colorful and we heard the girls were happy with them . I always remember seeing the girls waiting out- side of the clinic for "their turn" to go in. They would walk miles to get there for this opportunity. It truly was an amazing experience for us to be really involved in that way to help the women. It was an honor for us to be involved with the Hamlins....we met them once or twice. Our two children and my husband will never forget or stop being thankful for that experience we had in Ethiopia

Donor

Rating: 5

Once I learned of this organization through the New York Times, I have supported it. They are friendly and highly organized. They are quite transparent about their finances and where the money goes--a number of poor or under-serviced countries. They make an effort to keep their supporters up to date. Periodically, they relay first-person accounts from women who have benefited--i.e. ,had the operation at one of their clinics.

All the evidence I've seen, and my experience with them indicate that this is an excellent humanitarian project with real, tangible benefits to harmed and shamed women in a number of poor countries.

Donor

Rating: 5

This charity is doing excellent work treating a problem that most people never hear about but which can be devastating to people who don’t have access to the necessary surgery.

Donor

Rating: 5

I first heard of Fistula Foundation at a Christian women's retreat many years ago. A percentage of our retreat fee was given to Fistula Foundation and there was a segment of the program featuring the work of this amazing nonprofit. I cannot imagine the suffering, shame, and shunning women with fistula face. The condition reminds me of the biblical woman who was subject to a bleeding disorder for 12 years before Jesus healed her. Everyone connected with Fistula Foundation is like a little Jesus, bringing compassion, hope, and a cure. I have been donating to Fistula Foundation ever since that retreat! Cindy W