NOVA's "A Walk to Beautiful" enlightened me to the tragic problem of obstetric problems leading to vaginal-bowel/bladder fistulas.
Women who marry young and/or have a small stature (e.g. from a diet insufficient in calories to promote adequate growth) are at increased risk of an obstructed labor. This can lead to fistula as the birthing pressure cuts off blood circulation to vaginal, bladder, and/or bowel tissue which can become necrotic. And the walls of these organs may fuse leaving an open passage. Consequently, the woman may lose any bowel/bladder control as feces or urine leak from the vagina.
This becomes a living hell as the lack of sanitation facilities, running water, etc leaves fistula sufferers as messy malodorous social pariahs -- shunned and unwelcome anywhere.
I've been a regular donor to The Fistula Foundation for years and have been kept apprised of their ongoing expansion of facilities and services in many needed locations.
And I add that they have not used my donations to relentlessly hound me for more and more money. They are good stewards.
I'd rank them just below Doctors Without Borders and only because (MSF) works in dangerous and war-torn areas.
At the conclusion of the book Half The Sky, readers were encouraged to choose at least one action to take to help make a difference. I had been so moved by the stories of women who suffered fistulas, and encouraged by efforts to help them that I decided to investigate fistula repair or prevention work. While researching groups I could support, I discovered the Fistula Foundation. I was very impressed with their work, and immediately took money from my savings to fully fund the surgery for one woman. Later that year, as I continued to think about the plight of women who endure fistulas, I again funded surgery for another woman. This past Christmas, my group of friends decided to make a donation to the Fistula Foundation rather than exchange gifts, as we already have such abundance in our lives. I am so inspired by the reports I get from the Foundation, and am always eager to share news about their work with others. I hope others discover this wonderful group.
I donated because I know that this is a worthy cause that deserves much more attention and resources so that these women and girls who are suffering so much will be able to live a healthy and normal life
Several years ago, my wife and I were getting ready to purchase a professional-grade recorder for her birthday. The night before I was going online to close the deal, we watched a PBS special about the Fistula Foundation. I am a retired Presbyterian pastor and our hearts went out to these girls trapped in a cruel, throw-away society. I checked out the Fistula Foundation and found that they had an excellent record for managing their funds. So, we dropped the recorder order and sent the money instead to the foundation. We have been supporting this essential work ever since. Thanks so much for reaching out to stem this tide of misery. :o) Bill and Miriam Combs
Everyone should read "The Hospital on the River" by Catherine Hamlin to understand how much women suffer with fistulas.... their lives are changed irrevocably and, without surgery, become almost unlivable.
I'm a strong supporter of The Fistula Foundation who provide surgeries that bring sufferers the help and care they need. For many people the word 'fistula' is unknown, and, if it is, is not a topic of easy conversation. I urge to to consider donating to this truly amazing cause.
About 12 years ago I saw Margaret Hamlin on The Oprah Show. That was my introduction to The Fistula Foundation. Ever since, I have held a yearly fund raiser/birthday lunch. Each year I invite my friends-more each year- to my home for lunch. They in turn , write a check to The Fistula Foundation. It is such a gift to educate people about this cause. There is so much we take for granted. Please donate and ask your friends to donate too. You'll be glad you did!
I saw "A Walk to Beautiful" when it was released and was deeply moved by the stories it told. What can be more astounding than making a person from two tiny cells? Unfortunately, sometimes things go awry and a woman's attempt to create family leads to her lifelong isolation from family and friends. Can you imagine? The Fistula Foundation brings skilled medical care to these deserving women and restores them physically, leading to their acceptance back into their family and community. Ultimately this return leads to their mental healing. I can't think of a more worthwhile cause.
I do not have children by choice but I stand in solidarity with all women of the world. Childbirth should be a time of joy. I find it unthinkable what so many of the women--and girls-- have to endure due to lack of care. This organization is wonderful and changes lives one at a time. I wish I had more to give.
If you've had a child (even here in the United States, UK or other wealthy countries), there's a chance that you too have actually had an obstetric fistula - and would still have one without the intervention of surgical repair. When I had my son in 2011, I tore extensively. But I was in San Francisco at a highly resourced hospital with antibiotics and skilled surgeons. Soon after that, I watched A Walk to Beautiful and realized: that would have been me, physically, were I living in an area without access to medical help for complicated births. Since I do live in such a place, I feel obligated to help support my sisters who do not.
I don't know how many years ago I watched the PBS documentary "A Walk to Beautiful" and was struck by the heartbreaking stories of women dealing with the physical and emotional pain of childbirth fistulas.
I confess I knew nothing of this, and realized it was partly because I lived in a country where I was privileged to have access to good healthcare. I started donating then and have never stopped and know from following the work of this organization that the mission and work supported by my small donations is far reaching and restores women to full and meaningful lives.
I give to several other charities and organizations and the Fistula Foundation is one I know uses donations in the most wise and wonderful ways. I'm thrilled to be a part of the work!
Great organization -- highly dedicated, intelligent people doing work that literally transforms lives of women suffering from a condition that no one in the "developed" world would ever have to suffer through.
I'm not sure exactly how I learned of this nonprofit, but it was likely via one one of the sites that promotes petitions for the good of people, animals, the planet etc.
I read the stories and thought, this could have happened to me had I not been born and living in a place with decent medical care. The stories of the isolation and the problem itself touched me. These women live with far less than I do in their everyday life.
I learned of the dedicated staff and volunteers at the locations of the clinics and how much work they do with the resources they have. I learned about how far away medical care is for many of these women.
This is one of the nonprofits that I donate to that I know a real human being WILL receive a benefit (a better healthier life and support system-learning she wasn't the only one with this problem) from my donations. I like that. I've been donating off and on for about three years.
I learned about this organization by reading Peter Singer's book 'The Life you Can Save' and have been donating as I can. I am so glad this work is being done, and by such a reputable group. I know I can feel good about where my money is going and how it is being used.
I'm very impressed with Fistula Foundation. This charity is very reputable. I have been donating to Fistula Foundation for over a year. I even get personal thank you letters in the mail, it's really nice of them to make the time and effort to do that.
Thank you for all your work to help women with obstetric fistulas. It's so much more than just a medical problem for these women, they lose their place in their society and culture.
You guys are saving lives, really well done to you all!
Fistula Foundation restores full humanity to women who have become isolated through no fault of their own. When a woman (or girl) has brought a new life into the world, and--because of circumstances beyond her control--becomes incontinent from her labor in childbirth, she is no longer welcome to be with other people. She stinks. Human beings cannot be fully human when they are isolated. Fistula Foundation restores women to full humanity.
I have been donating to the Fistula Foundation for years. They do wonderful work, spend funds wisely, and are excellent at communicating with donors.
I believe deeply in what Kate Grant and the Fistula Foundation are doing for women. Nicholas Kristof opened my eyes to this foundation in 2006 with one of his columns and I have been giving continually when I can. I have received lovely notes of thanks, handwritten, and incredible updates on how specific women in various countries, whose lives would otherwise be ruined, are able to have the relatively inexpensive surgery and makes lives for themselves and their children.
I saw a documentary about the women who are saved by the Fistula Foundation. I was so angry to see these women shunned for a medical condition that they had no control over causing or coping with. In no other charity that I support, is there such a quick fix and complete life change for the recipients. I encourage everyone I know to support this wonderful organization.
I learned about The Fistula Foundation (and its cause) through a mailing. I read the contents and cried. I had no idea how many women, and their families world wide are effected by Fistula. The Fistula Foundation makes a difference in every country they visit. They work to train surgeons, doctors & health care workers. They build or supply facilities, educate and most importantly they reach women in need. They give women their lives back.
I give what I can monthly and read every newletter they send.