Thanks to WFF, women worldwide are able to live a restored life, in a community that integrates all of their needs including: surgery, physical and occupational therapy, social work and counseling, clean living spaces, adequate nutrition, and a caring community. I have seen the women transform from being very scared, nervous, and reluctant on their first day at the clinic to being fully ALIVE and restored as they are integrated in the community at the fistula clinics supported by WFF.
I'm a long-term donor and have been a member of the Board for 10 years. I spent much of my sabbatical year in Africa in 2012 studying and working with the problem of childbirth injuries.
WFF has done an outstanding job of managing the shock and disruption caused by COVID; kudos to the small professional staff for their work. We've managed to protect the programs and maintain a strong financial position. As we appear to be emerging from this difficult period our grantees are ready to hit the ground running and deliver high quality, holistic care.
We are very grateful to our donors for their generous support. We always work to assure that funds are responsibly and effectively managed.
My experiences with WFF have been inspiring, challenging, and fulfilling. We are most grateful to all of our donors and endeavor to be good stewards, always using our resources for the greatest impact. Thanks to all.
Thanks, Chris! Your devotion to WFF is amazing! Thank you for everything you do.
I came across them in 2019 and love watching all the amazing things they are doing to help women with fistulas
They are truly a group of hardworking individuals!
I found WFF at the beginning of 2019 and fell in love with their work so quickly. They do such an incredible job not only healing women, but working on prevention of fistula, and helping survivors find incomes sources post surgery. They have great communication with their donors.
If you’re looking for a nonprofit to support, I highly recommend WFF.
I was fortunate to travel to Uganda and meet several survivors of fistula who have been helped by WFF. Each individual I met took a permanent place in my heart. To hear the stories of their struggles with fistula and appreciate the difference that the surgery and followup care that WFF provided motivated me to want to do more with this organization. These women went from having a situation that was almost unbearable to experiencing joy and fullfillment by returning to become a productive and welcomed member of their community. Community reintegration includes learning new skills, managing money, and starting a business--such as starting a goat dairy.
Imagine this was your village, your home--the only one you have ever known, but you are no longer welcome here because of a devastating injury during childbirth that left you unable to control the flow of urine or feces. The surgical treatments and follow up care made possible by WFF allows these unfortunate women to return to their homes and to a normal life. Through the rehabilitation and training programs after surgery, the women return stronger and able to support themselves and actively contribute to the community. These women also become advocates to help others seek treatment and care, paying it forward for what they have received. I have traveled to Uganda to meet the survivors and community members and hear their stories. I have seen the goat dairy and the textiles created by survivors who were able to return--I am in awe of the resilience and dedication of everyone working on behalf of the elimination of fistula and childbirth injury. WFF makes a difference.
I am amazed at how much this organization accomplishes. It has identified on-the-ground locals in selective countries in both West Africa and East Africa and continues to make transformational differences in hundreds of women (and teen girls) plagued by severe obstetric injuries sustained in obstructed delivery. Worldwide Fistula Fund (WFF) is serious about capacity building with human capital, careful to provide top-drawer clinical and management skills to these partners serving as leaders in their home countries. The volunteer Board - on which I have served for more than a decade - generously donates its expertise and seasoned experience to help make this phenomenon happen. A small, dedicated support staff keeps overhead low and thus value high on where donor dollars are directed.
I have served on the board of directors of this amazing organization for over six years, including as its chair and treasurer. Through its programs, it is building sustainability in Africa to lower the incidence and prevalence of obstetric fistulas. The Worldwide Fistula Fund has trained more doctors in expertly performing surgical repairs of the injury than any other single philanthropic organization. Its intervention is comprehensive, including educating women about prevention, providing physical therapy to address neurological damage, and training post-op patients in a vocational skill so they are integrated back to their community with a sense of value and restored dignity.
Wonderfully put, Nancy! Thank you for your continued dedication to women and girls with childbirth injuries!
WFF provides holistic care for under-served women in 5 African countries focused on preventing and treating childbirth injuries as well as programs that support the women's financial stability and reintegration into their communities following treatment. A multi-talented group of volunteer board members help expand the impact of WFF support through counseling and mentoring local leaders and training healthcare professionals to build capacity on the ground -- ultimately resulting in changing the lives of hundreds of women every year. That's why I serve on the board.
Worldwide Fistula Fund has had another impressive year including expanding services for women in Kenya with our new partner as well as supporting the development of a brand new hospital in Uganda dedicated to women's health and due to open in August 2019. The organization continues to maximize the use of donations and get a lot done to improve the lives of under served women in Africa.
This is an amazing non for profit organization! The programs are diverse and the engagement of the board is robust! Each member of this board is passionate in their desire to improve the lives of women world wide. Investment in people, and capacity in each of the programs highlights the mission of WFF.
Thanks to the WFF, capacity building is occurring in a sustainable way for surgeons and physical therapists in Mek'ele Ethiopia. This charity is leading the way in providing sustainable interdisciplinary care for the women of Ethiopia!!
Thank you, Tracy! We couldn't do it without your devotion and generous donation of time!
Worldwide Fistula Fund is supporting amazing work improving lives for women in Africa. I'm so impressed with the successes of the programs.
I have followed this organization since it was founded in 1995. This organization has consistently been one of the most-effective organizations working in the field of catastrophic childbirth trauma in African countries. They have been instrument in constructing two fistula hospitals in Africa and heavily involved in supporting two other such centers. They have trained high-quality subspecialists in fistula surgery and urogynecology in African countries and they look at the whole patient in her life-story, not just "repairing the hole" that developed as the result of traumatic labor. Highly recommended. Very moving stories.
I am proud to support WFF and the important work it does to improve the lives of women, families and entire communities. By addressing the many facets of healing for women, the impact of this organization’s work improves lives for generations to come!
Before encountering WFF, I don't believe I had heard of obstetric fistula, and if I had, I was not knowledgeable about it. But after learning about WFF's mission, I had a new awareness of the suffering that women can experience as a result of it and other childbirth injuries. It's a suffering that encompasses the physical, mental, social, and emotional--and WFF's holistic approach seeks to heal women in all of those regards. I find this to be one of the most powerful aspects of WFF's identity as a nonprofit.
This past year I had the opportunity to contribute to one of WFF's initiatives for helping women get back on their feet post-surgery: making a donation in the form of purchasing survivor-made goods. At this time I met WFF’s marketing team, whose work importantly involves bringing the stories of survivors to those of us an ocean away. WFF not only crucially informs us of the devastation in the lives of women with childbirth injuries, but they also spread the joy that can blossom as the result of life-changing treatment and rehabilitation.
I am in awe of the strength of the women WFF serves and inspired by those at WFF working to make that service possible.
Obstetric fistula is a devastating injury caused by childbirth. Over two million women suffer incontinence and social isolation as a result. Women and fist in developing nations are disproportionately affected: WFF is healing women, restoring lives, and preventing injuries in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, and Uganda. It has been an honor to be on the Associate Board for WFF. Looking forward to our continued collaboration.
Worldwide Fistula Fund is committed to dramatically changing the lives of women who suffer immeasurable pain and isolation. I am proud to be a donor to this organization.
I am a donor to WFF and a very enthusiastic supporter. For nearly forty years, I worked as an emergency medicine physician facing disasters almost every day. Other supporters have told you about the terrific social and health damage inflicted by fistulas. What you might not know is that fistula repair is technically very difficult and requires an expertly trained and experienced surgical team. Thanks to WFF, their surgeons are trained in country to fix old, scared wounds, while operating in a tunnel in a contaminated environment who nevertheless achieve wonderful outcomes. We doctors who know about WFF are donors, all heartened by WFF's success and we all cheer its future. This is a five star NGO.
This organization is run by a diverse group of incredibly committed people most of whom volunteer their time and their expertise to elevate women's health globally. Women in low resource settings are at incredibly high risk for child birth related pelvic floor injuries and given their low status in society, rarely receive care. Care , if present, is rarely adequate. This organization believes in empowering local communities such as NGOs and academic institutions so that they are capable of building their own resilient health systems. This ensures sustainability and allows donors to make the most out of their investment in the long run.
World Wide Fistula Fund is one of those unique organizations that not only provides direct service to women with childbirth injuries, but also partners with federal medical institutions, community outreach organizations and stakeholders to build health care capacity on the ground in multiple countries. The services range from training the next generation of doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff caring for women , to clinical and surgical care, social reintegration and prevention of childbirth injuries. They are also one of few organizations who engage in academically rigorous research to improve care delivery and assess outcome . Go WFF!
Thanks, Dr. Nardos! Your dedication and hard work on the ground make so much of what we do possible! Go, Dr. Nardos!
I have been a supporter of this organization and its work for years and continue to be impressed by the results of their dedicated efforts. This organization doesn't stop at medical repair, they help to heal the hearts and communities where these women come from. Meaningful work is being done here and impacts are widespread.
The impact on the fistula survivors' lives is stunning. They are shunned and live in misery, wet, cursed and unable to be in their community . They become strong educated advocates for other women with fistula. WFF not only trains local surgeons and nurses to do transforming surgery, but also teaches skills and has support groups to enable these ladies to find their voices and place. WFF is different from other fistula organizations as it focuses on prevention of fistula with safe childbirth education, increasing local expertise in treating fistula and following our ladies to reintegration in society. Very efficient with a modest but growing budget. Below are fistula survivors, Sarah Omega, our Kenya Country Director and Jane, one of our support group leaders and educator.
I am a Past President of a Seattle nonprofit, One by One Fight Fistula. I have been working with women in Africa to develop programs for educating about, treating and preventing fistula for over 10 years. One by One, after extensive research, decided to join forces with Worldwide Fistula Fund this year. The Board of WWF is professional, efficient, highly skilled, diverse, and caring. We have the same mission and approach-appreciating the dignity of our ladies with fistula and those who work with them in Africa and supporting programs they are developing on the ground in 5 African countries.
It's wonderful to see how seamlessly our organizations fit together. We're thrilled to be able to combine the wisdom, passion and expertise of OBO and WFF's vast network to fight fistula together! Thank you, Kathleen, for your dedication to this important work!
Helping women who are vulnerable in countries with issues that are all but non-existant in the developed world is difficult yet barely recognized work. WFF sees these women as integral to communities. And offers solution to help them thrive Not only do they provide programs to solve the injuries from child birth but they also work with the women to provide holistic rehabilitation that is multifactoral: mentally, physically, economically, and educational...this list is just the tip of the iceberg. Their programs impact communities with employment & education for staff at their facilities and in the communities.
In resource poor areas, they have a positive impact to some of the most vulnerable.
Obstetric Fistula is an overlooked problem of whcih most perople are unaware. However, once someone hears about the life of a women afflicted with fistula the compassion rises to the surface immedaitely.
WFF is really making a difference.
I have been an enthusiastic supporter of the Worldwide Fistula Fund since its beginning in 1995. I have been a volunteer and served on the Board of Directors over the years.
The Worldwide Fistula Fund provides excellent care for women suffering from obstetrical fistula, helping to prevent, treat and restore them to their place in society. This is an outstanding organization! Thank you!
Thank you for your wonderful testimony, Helen! You gave this organization deep roots; thank you for your dedication to women and girls with childbirth injuries!
Worldwide Fistula Foundation is committed to helping African women suffering from devastating childbirth injuries that threaten their relationships resulting in pain, isolation, and abandonment. I have been a member of the WFF board since May 2016 and have witnessed the compassion and care of these dedicated board members and volunteers. They are passionate in their advocacy and provision of direct medical care and raising funds to underwrite this life changing service. Kudos to all those who support WFF with their treasure, talents, and time.
Thank you for sharing your experience with WFF!
I recently joined the board of Worldwide Fistula Fund (WFF). This is an organization with stalwart dedication to individual impact. Many organizations get distracted by bureaucracy, public image, and individual interest. WFF does not suffer from this lack of focus. Each member of the board, the team, and the community with whom I have had the pleasure of engaging is singularly dedicated to helping women suffering from obstetric fistula. This obscure maternal health complication is curable and more importantly, it is preventible. It is something we can eradicate if we can gather the moment. There are many problems that we simply cannot solve. This is not one of them.
I am very excited to be a part of this team and I commit to seeing the end of obstetric fistula in our regions of impact. Come join us, be a part of our global maternal health community!
Thank you for your dedication to ending fistula, Drew! You bring such a positive energy to the BOD, and we are so lucky to have your expertise help guide our organization to success!
WFF is a terrific organization doing work that provides women and girls with fistula and other childbirth related injuries a chance for a better life. Fistula is no longer common in the US (although it was in earlier days) but it still happens regularly in the less developed areas of the world. The medical professionals and support team at WFF are making it a priority to not only cure the fistula issue, but also to heal the whole person through after care, community reintegration and vocational training. A truly holistic approach. Well done WFF!
Thank you so much for your commitment to healing women inside and out!
I am a newer Board Member, joining in early 2018 when another well respected Fistula non-profit merged with Worldwide Fistula Fund. I see absolute integrity in how services are delivered and money is stewarded. There is unwavering commitment among staff and board to help as many women with Fistula with the highest standards in holistic treatment. The aim is to make the biggest impact and to be strategic regarding how and where we work and with whom we partner. And there is gratitude, respect and commitment to all of our donors.
Thank you so much, Susan, for your dedication to helping women with obstetric fistula and other devastating childbirth injuries. Your support and that of others like you is what makes this organization great!!
No question, this is a good cause! A problem which can be solved with money. Not controversial, just heartbreakingly relevant to the helpless, innocent victims
Thank you so much for your support and kind works, Patricia!
This is a wonderful organization that is working honestly, tirelessly and enthusiastically to heal women and eradicate fistula for the future. My sincere thanks and full support goes to WFF!
Thank you for your kind words, Sarah. WFF couldn't accomplish so much without your support!
WFF is the oldest non-profit organization in the United States working on the problem of obstetric fistula. I have followed its work for over 20 years, heard its stories, read the papers that it has produced, and continued to support it. Very impressed with its long commitment to vulnerable women in Africa and for the good work that it does.
Thank you for your review! We couldn't accomplish any of it without your support!
Worldwide Fistula Fund is a tremendous nonprofit and does so much for women who have suffered an Obstetric Fistula tears. This organization helps to restore victims and turn them into survivors. They also give them purpose and rehabilitate them as well as train them to earn a living. They give the women purpose so they no longer feel humiliated. I pray they continue the good work that they are doing.
Thank you for this moving review! We can't do any of it without your support!
I am so impressed with the work that the Worldwide Fistula Fund does to help women suffering from obstetric fistulas and education on their prevention. Not only does the organization provide the surgery to repair this devastating injury, but also focuses on helping these women reintegrate back into their community after treatment. After repair, these women are given their dignity back. Thank you for the WONDERFUL things you do!!
Thank you for such a wonderful review! We couldn't do nearly so much without your support!
WFF is an amazing organization that does a lot to help women who have suffered for a long time. It's important to bring awareness to the struggles these women are facing, and WFF does an amazing job at telling their stories.
Thank you! Your contributions make a huge difference in helping us accomplish our goals!
This is an amazing organization that does incredible work. I am more than happy to be a part of it, and support everyone involved. Especially the women....they need us!
Thank you! Your contributions go so far toward helping these women and girls accomplish so much!
This is an incredible organization and I am so thankful to be a part of it, as a donor, supporter, Associate Board Member and staff member! WFF does such powerful work for individual women and whole communities and countries. I cannot recommend them enough to future supporters!
Thanks, Casey! You have done and do great work for WFF. We appreciate your dedication to our cause!
I'm constantly impressed with the efforts of the people running this non-profit. What a great cause - hope someone will make a documentary about it one day ;)
I first learned about Worldwide Fistula Fund from the book Half the Sky. I had never heard of such a horribly, devastating condition as obstetric fistula before then. I was so moved by these women and what Worldwide Fistula Fund is doing to give them their lives and dignity back. I believe everyone should know about the incredible work Worldwide Fistula Fund is doing.
WWF does a remarkable job of raising awareness and funds to help victims of fistula heal and rejoin their communities, as well as to provide health training for OB-GYN professionals to aid in prevention and increased treatment. I recently attended a fundraiser in Chicago and was impressed with the passion, professionalism and compassion of every person involved. Keep up the good work!
Great organization run by wonderful people. I had the pleasure of meeting several of the staff members, a survivor and partner, and other donors at their last event. Amazing experience. They're doing incredible work for women and girls in Africa. Very highly recommended.
An excellent organization that does real and lasting good, helping women whose lives have been overturned by traumatic childbirth experiences get back on their feet both via surgery and skills training so they can take control of their own futures once their bodies have healed.
The Worldwide Fistula Fund is a great non-profit which seeks to help women who suffer from what can be defined as modern day leprosy - obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula is a childbirth related injury most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia resulting from prolonged, obstructed labor which causes a hole between the women’s vagina and rectum causing her to be incontinent, sometimes for years. WWF supports hospitals and physicians in Niger, Uganda and Ethiopia. The result, not only are women repaired physically – a miracle for them - but are repaired holistically through education and vocational training.
An amazing charity working tirelessly restoring health and dignity, ending unspeakable pain and trauma to countless women!
WFF meets women in their most wounded and traumatized realities and accompanies them on the path to health- physical, emotional and communal. By focusing on the healing of each individual woman they are shining a high intensity light on the need for our healing as societies and as a species, by honoring the power and integrity of women. WFF communicates their successes but is not intrusive in its marketing. I am so honored to be a member of their supporters.
I contributed to this charity because of a column by Nicholas Kristof concerning the many women in developing countries who suffer permanently from the condition that WWF addresses. It seems a small issue but to the women who are shunned and humiliated, it is a big one. The staff are committed to having the donations go directly to the women who need the service. Small staff, big accomplishments.
I recently became a donor to wwf and couldn't be more impressed, they are transparent and humble and working with woman who have terrible fistulas. Thank you
I first learned of the issue from an article in Christianity Today - a condition so easily fixed but causes shame and humiliation to my sub-Saharan sisters .....'what you do for the least of these' springs to mind. And often just little girls who spend the rest of their lives hovering over a grate. I'm so grateful to Dr Wall and his team who brought these sisters to my attention.
This is a great organization. I think you are demanding a lot. Any review should be sufficient considering you a simply entering some sort of competition. What really is the end result? Did I write enough mindless words to meet your submission requirements?
The work that WorldWide Fistula Fund provides so many women around the world with care they desperately need and Dr. Wall and his team never give up. The ongoing awareness and education that the foundation provides is bringing the local providers the necessary skills to heal their communities and bring much needed services to those in need. One can trust that the organization is leading the pack with fighting the challenges of Child/Maternal Health and is a worthy cause to support.
I have been interested in the problem of childbirth injuries and fistula since the first time I heard Lewis Wall speak in 2002. Lewis founded this organization with another dedicated fistula surgeon, Steve Arrowsmith. They carried the load for many years but the organization has now transitioned into a modern public non-profit.
I have had a variety of experiences living and working in Africa over the past 6 years. Obstetric fistula is a complicated medical, social, and political problem. WFF understands this and strives to use donations responsibly to maximize the impact. I visited the facility in Danja last spring and it is a model--clean, efficient and effective without unnecessary ornamentation. We endeavor to make sure that all WFF activities will do the same.
I was unaware of the existence of fistula until I found out about this organization. Obviously, a condition that causes so much misery to so many women is worthy of our attention and support. I will be a contributor to their cause from now on and will work to spread the word about fistula.
I first learned of Drs. Lewis Wall, Steven Arrowsmith and the Worldwide Fistula Fund in 2009 when reading "Half the Sky" (Kristof & Wu Dunn) a few months after my first experience working in Africa with women with fistula. After years of work in pelvic and women's health as a physical (physio-) therapist in the US and a lifelong interest in global health and human rights, becoming involved as a provider, collaborator, and advocate for women - and specifically for physical (physio-) therapy programs addressing fistula-related concerns - was deeply meaningful; made much more so by connecting with the great people behind WFF. The commitment of this organization to sustainable and thoughtful care is solid and born out in their on-the-ground actions, contributions to the scientific literature and advocacy on behalf of women with fistula to the general public and medical/academic communities. It is a deep privilege for me to count the volunteers and Board of WFF as colleagues and friends in this work and I stand in full support of their team and mission. Sooooooo….bottom line….5 stars!!!
Obstetric fistula is practically unheard of in the developed world, but it is estimated that 2 million or more women in developing countries live with the consequences. WFF is one of the organizations working tirelessly to raise awareness of fistula and to offer treatment to women who are affected, not only the necessary surgery, but also the rehabilitation and support required to return them to their homes and families.
I read about obstetric fistula a couple years before starting my graduate program in occupational therapy. As I investigated this condition further, I learned about the WFF and it's comprehensive mission. Although occupational therapy (OT) is not traditionally part of the obstetric fistula healthcare team, it seemed as if OT would be a valuable addition to help these women live fulfilling, meaningful lives. Despite being a student, the WFF was open to my ideas and supportive of my involvement. I am incredibly grateful for the open-mindedness and generosity of the WFF and its partners in encouraging me to explore the role of OT in rehabilitation for women with obstetric fistula. Thanks to the WFF, I have had the pleasure of working with talented and passionate professionals from around the world in physical therapy, medicine, social work, counseling, research, etc. Additionally, I have learned about the incredible women the WFF supports -- women who are resilient, strong, and motivated despite having an obstetric fistula.
After learning about obstetric fistula ("Cutting for Stone" and "Half the Sky", both wonderful books, were my first introduction) I started doing some research into how I could contribute to this cause. One of the highly rated organizations I found out about was the WFF. Rather than simply making a donation now and again, I wanted to find a sustainable way to make money to donate to the WFF on an ongoing basis. At home in Singapore, I set up a social enterprise, "Liberty Rocks", designing and making jewelry to sell, with all the profits being donated to WFF. The jewelry is designed in Singapore and then made by women in Afghanistan and Thailand (who also benefit from the income) and then sold in Singapore. The idea is to create a positive cycle of women helping women. Raising awareness of fistula is a further benefit - around 95% of people I have met have never heard of it. WFF has been most supportive and sent me information which I am using as part of my campaign to get people to donate either directly or by buying the jewelry. I am very happy to say that the response has been very positive. Thank you to the WFF for their wonderful work!
I plan my giving carefully because I want it to go where it will directly benefit people in need. I heard about this organization through Nicholas Kristof's articles and was so impressed with the work they do and the Charity Navigator ratings. I'm proud to have given to the "Love a Sister" campaign and will continue to give to this worthy organization that is transforming the lives of women every single day.
Providing financial support for the important work of WFF is an opportunity to do something concrete to right one of the worst wrongs that are inflicted on innocents by an evil part of human society. Women suffering pain and shame and who may die sooner than later are given a new opportunity for a somewhat normal life.
To quote the great and beloved fistula surgeon, pioneer, and advocate, Dr. Reginald Hamlin, referring to the fistula pilgrims that he would find standing alone in urine soaked rags at the bus stops of Addis Ababa: "To meet only one was to be profoundly moved and called forth the utmost compassion that the human heart was capable of feeling."
I heartily commend the mission of the Worldwide Fistula Fund! Obstetric fistula is an 'orphan disease'. Victims of VVF need love, attention, compassion, caring, and help and the Worldwide Fistula Fund is championing this.
I have followed the progress of this organization for many years and have been impressed by its steady development. They were able to build a functioning fistula hospital in the world's poorest country (Niger) which is no small feat! They have supported advocacy, research and public awareness at national and international meetings and have been a consistent presence in the fistula world for nearly 20 years. WFF is actually the oldest charity in the United States devoted to work on obstetric fistula. I have seen their work firsthand. It is a good organization which continues to grow.
“I’ve had my family held at gunpoint, I’ve had malaria, I’ve had a serious exposure to H.I.V., I’ve been separated from family, and I’ve spent about a million hours crammed into coach class on airlines, but it’s worth it. I’d much rather live a meaningful life than a comfortable one.”
Dr. Arrowsmith, a physician who left a comfy job in the U.S. to rescue young women suffering from obstretic fistulas.
I had the honor of traveling to Niger as a medical assessor for Project C.U.R.E. Spending a week in Danja at the facility, working with the medical team, and performing the hospital assessment all demonstrated what a phenomenal organization this really is. But the real joy came from meeting the women whose lives are transformed by the work done by WFF. The smiles and songs and laughter of these women were the most potent and undeniable evidence that the work done here is truly making the world a better place. This organization is a wonderful example of people deciding to implement positive change in the world and then making it happen. Having performed medical assessments all over the world, Worldwide Fistula Fund is truly a fantastic organization and I would urge anyone who cares about women's health to support them.
I had read an article in Christianity Today a few years back. I could not get the picture of these ladies (some children, as young as 14) having to live over drains. Being a woman and in the medical field my heart ached for these women. Seeing so much "medical waste" and expense here in the U.S. got me thinking about the small cost for a huge difference in a lady's life. I started a business and told my husband that they would be the ones we supported with 10% of sales. I have had just a few comments about why I am not supporting something in the U.S. WELL until you can show me one person who has to live like that in the U.S. I will continue to do what I can for these women. These women are outcasts, but they are loved. I have seen some stories on how these women's life are changed (and only 400 per surgery). We look to the day we can donate thousands to help these ladies and all those volunteering. The true thankfulness and smiles on these healed women are remarkable. I tell others when at vending opportunities briefly about them so they know a portion of their purchase goes to such a wonderful cause. More and more women are getting familiar with what a fistula surgery is (in very general terms).
Three years ago a friend told me about a book, HALF THE SKY. I was so moved by the stories of these women who had overcome so many hardships and obstacles. They were not victims but had used their knowledge to turn around and help others. It was the first time I had ever heard about fistula. I was saddened and shocked that women were suffering from a medical condition that could be easily remedied. One of the organizations mentioned that was trying to deal with this condition was WORLDWIDE FISTULA FUND. So I decided to put this organization on my list of charities. The stories I have read regarding the change in the lives of these women is remarkable. They can now live without discomfort and shame. Those things which were brought to them through no fault of their own.
The Worldwide Fistula Fund does a great job helping to heal women with obstetric fistulas in areas in which they would not otherwise have access to such health care. In particular, they operate the Danja Fistula Center in Niger under difficult conditions.
I first heard of obstetric fistulas through NIcolas Kristof and Shreyl WuDunn's insightful book, Half the Sky. The book detailed the unthinkable treatment that women with unfortunate condition endure and the impact that the organizations like the Worldwide Fistula Fund have on changing the lives of women who would otherwise be treated as pariahs. This organization works to heal women who are physically and socially marginalized by funding surgery and creating hospitals. The organization also keeps its donors updated with developments through regular emails. The WWF is a truly honorable effort.
When a woman's fistula is repaired, her entire life changes; she goes from being an outcast to a productive member of society. I learned of this group through a column Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times on WFF and have been a supporter ever since then. There are a lot of great organizations out there that address the vast medical needs in the third world, but am guessing there are very few that do what WFF does; I am also certain that WFF attract sa small fraction of the funding that goes to the bigger (and also important) groups. I hope this review persuades some people to support WFF, which helps change lives by addressing a medical problem that too few Westerners are aware of.