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The Fistula Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

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

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 31 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: 5,680 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: countries throughout Africa and Asia, having funded fistula treatment in 31 countries since adopting a global mission in 2009.

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.

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While traveling extensively through the African continent doing volunteer work, I have encountered other volunteers who are acquainted with the work of The Fistula Foundation and speak of it in glowing terms. I hope someday to be one of them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Terrific, with great follow up and notifications. You can really see your money working.

Rachael8

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization does amazing work! I created an entire project to fundraise for the Fistula Foundation during my junior and senior years of high school. I'm so glad to help raise funds and awareness for a worthy organization that helps women heal, survive, and thrive.

Previous Stories
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Volunteer

Rating: 5

In high school, I created my own volunteer project to help this organization after watching the DVD 'A Walk to Beautiful.' I was absolutely struck by the conditions that women with fistula are subjected to, and I wanted to help out! I contacted the Fistula Foundation and received a packet filled with helpful tips & information for becoming a Circle of Friends point person. A little over a year later, God blessed the project and my supporters & I were able to donate the cost of two fistula surgeries! I am very happy with this organization; I still receive newsletters, photos, and hand-signed notes from CEO Kate Grant & the rest of her team telling me how important my work was and continued support is. I have also checked out the organization's tax & income information, and everything looks to be as aboveboard & efficient as possible. Thank you for doing what you do, and doing it so well!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I believe in the work of the Fistula Foundation. Before becoming a donor I wanted to volunteer with the organization just to get a closer look. I can confirm that donations to the Fistula Foundation are well spent on work in the field and not on fancy corporate extras.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Anfac was a 16 year old Somali girl in a refugee camp on the Kenyan border with Somalia. She was raped by 2 soldiers, 2 soldiers who then killed her brother who was trying to rescue her. Anfac ended up as a broken soul with an obstetric fistula. Through funding from The Fistula Foundation to the National Borama Fistula Hospital in Somaliland, Anfac was found, diagnosed, transported with her mother the 700 miles to the hospital, repaired. Kate and I met her there. Anfac was kept on at the hospital which underwrote her going to school, where she quickly learned English, computer skills, on a course to become a nurse while working at the hospital. This hospital provides free fistula repair and recovery facilities to over 450 patients per year. The Fistula Foundation has provided equipment, a bus to pick up patients, funding for over 50% of the operating costs of the hospital (the remainder of which is largely funded by the doctors themselves), and a wonderful, talented obstetric fistula surgeon from New York University (who operates, teaches residents, nurses and medical students) and comes twice a year. The Fistula Foundation has been doing this consistently for over 5 years. Fistula cases within 50 miles of the hospital have been reduced markedly and are dealt with on a current basis. The hospital is now reaching out to provide obstetric fistula education to the people throughout the Somali-speaking areas of the Horn of Africa and to extend their care throughout the region.

Why and How: Dedicated doctors, Kate Grant and her wonderful team at The Fistula Foundation

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Somaliland in the 1960's and went back some years ago on my retirement. I have been working with a group of Somali doctors who set up a fistula hospital there. It is free, and set up solely to help repair the destroyed birth canals of the thousands of women in the Somali region who suffer from fistulas because of no pre-natal care, inadequate trained birth assistants, and no post-natal care. These women are ostracized from society. I helped the National Borama (Somaliland) Fistula Hospital (NBFH) apply to The Fistula Foundation for assistance. The Fistula Foundation welcomed our request, understood the fistula problems in this region of Africa, helped us with a grant application, were very clear and specific with their suggestions and timely with their responses. As a consequence The Fistula Foundation helped NBFH pay for operating equipment, doctors, patient care and operating expenses. This increased the number of patients who could be treated. There were about 400 patients treated in 2011 and, with the continuing support of The Fistula Foundation, the plan is to increase patients treated to about 500 in 2012. Needless to say - we think The Fistula Foundation is wonderful.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation helps women with obstetric fistula overcome their condition. Fistula causes women to be shunned from their community and this organization gives them their lives back. You can sign up to get emails from the foundation that tell you stories about women with the condition, ways you can help, and many other things.If you have the opportunity to help The Fistula Foundation, take it.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I remember when I learned about Obstetric Fistula and what it can do to women. After hearing the horrible facts, I realized that I had to do something to help these women suffering. I had seen a film about this condition, called, A Walk To Beautiful. I decided to look up who had made this film to find out who I could help. Now, I am connected with The Fistula Foundation and hope to raise more money soon. The experience I have had with this group is wonderful. They have answered all of my questions, and given me numerous ideas to support the affected women. I can not imagine a better way to help a cause.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was touched by reading an editorial by Nicholas Kristoff in the New York Times many years ago and told many women in my office about the great work of Dr. Hamlin. I have donated to the Fistula Foundation many times since that date and continue to tout the work of her great organization as an example of helping women regain their dignity and contribute to society.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have donated time and money over the years to help people and animals, but no other donation even comes close to giving us the feeling that were truly making a change in the world as the ones we have made to the Fistula foundation..When you take a moment and really think of the pain and endless suffering these young women endure, it is heart breaking..For the price of a weekend in the city, you can give a woman her life back, end her misery and she can become mentor to other women..I often wear the beautiful scarf that I received from Fistula foundation, when people ask about the meaning on the scarf logo, I am happy to tell them about this foundation and their hard work, and what a wonderful outcome it would be if they would donate as we have...Elizabeth and Donald Kaneshige

JJ Verburg

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think the first time we heard of the Fistula Hospital was on the Oprah show. My wife and I have been going to Ethiopia as missionaries/volunteers since 2002. We thought we would check it out. Wow were we impressed. The facility was well maintained and the care provided was excellent. We have been allowed to tour the hospital and interact with the patients. We were treated with respect and I had the feeling that every person who came to the hospital was treated as an equal. It didn't matter weather you were a patient or Oprah. The staff is professional and the whole place is focused on helping the patient, many who are still young girls who should never have gone through what they have. The vision to help them and give them a second chance at life is a sacrifice few people attain to. Supporting this cause is not a waste.
There is nothing fancy for Dr. Hamlin to live in and nothing is wasted. When we last met her in 2012 she was still operating at 87.
I was impressed that what was a bare hillside when she arrived had been transformed into a small paradise, and Dr. Hamlin knew the biological name of almost every plant, much which was planted with her own hands.
There is a joy in helping the helpless, especially those, who through no fault of their own, are cast aside by society. There is no way to put a price on what Hamlin Fistula Hospitals has done for these precious girls, and no praise high enough to those who labour selflessly.
Sincerely, Jack Verburg, Canada.


Volunteer

Rating: 5

since the day Oprah had the MD speak about the Fistula foundation, I've been given donations every year because all women deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and I'm sure they receive it with the help of all the people involved in the organization. thanks for sending pictures of women who were able to turn their life around. Charya

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PBS documentary introduced me to the incredible doctors and staff helping to transform the lives of women. I watch my bank account each month for the $37.50 going to Fistula and relish in knowing I will have helped save one life by the end of each year. I am a school teacher who wants to publish children's books and then donate 80% of what I make to Fistula. That would be a dream come true. I can only imagine the number of lives in a year then! I was also warmed by having talked to someone personally at Fistula when I had called with a question. They are a small group achieving monumental things. I am honored to be a part of that!

Belle S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I myself am a Pre-Med student, and my Goal is to become an Urogynocologist to help cure women who are suffering from Obstetric Fistula. I became a volunteer to help this organization and so far I am doing good at spreading the words about Fistula at my current University. The NGO is amazing and I am really glad they could help those women. I cannot stress how much glad I am that such organization exists. I will do anything I can to help them achieve their Goals.

Carmela K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

when I saw "A walk to beautiful" on PBS in 2008 I knew that if I helped women repair these devastated conditions, in Ethiopia, we could get to the Congo. Not only this amazing amazing ORGANIZATION got to the Congo they are now all over the map helping women, now in 20 countries helping Hospitals, other heath organization, bring so needed help to cure a devastating Fistula condition, and get women back with their families, communities and the work force to better their life their community and their family!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first learned about obstetric fistula while looking for summer internships in the non-profit sector and I was amazed by the tragedy of this stigmatized condition. When I found Fistula Foundation, I immediately knew that I wanted to spend my summer helping this wonderful organization and all of the women in the 19 countries that Fistula Foundation currently supports. I had an amazing experience, learned so much about obstetric fistula worldwide, and was able to join Fistula Foundation's fight to bring life-changing surgeries to women who live with obstetric fistula. At the end of the summer, I knew that I had to do more to help these women and I made a pledge to myself to donate the cost of one surgery ($450) every year from now on. Thank you, Fistula Foundation, for the opportunity to work for this worthy cause and for the work that you continue to do every day to give women new lives free from obstetric fistula!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We learned about fistulas from watching a documentary we borrowed from the library. It broke our hearts and we wanted to help make a difference in their lives. Our family has been volunteering with The Fistula Foundation and so have some of our daughter's friends. It has been a life-changing experience for all of us! The staff is very kind and compassionate, and the office is a very peaceful place to work.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Fistula Foundation has helped women in Zambia through the Ministry of Health in partnership with Medecins Sans Frontieres-Spain in Luwingu, a rural district if Northern Zambia. MSF is running a Sexual Reproductive Health and PMTCT project up to June 2013. So funding from the Foundation has helped to repair fistulae for 48 women from March to October 2012. We hope the Founadtion will continue to fund this noble cause to bring dignity and joy to as many women as require this help. From: Winter Musonda, IEC Programmes Officer, MSF-Spain, Luwingu Zambia.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I occasionally do IT support for the Fistula Foundation and envelope stuffing. They are lean and mean team dedicated to saving as many women as possible from the horrors of fistula. They will make the best use of whatever you give them.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been a volunteer with the Fistula Foundation for about a year and I am very impressed with the work that they are doing for these young women. I enjoy my time helping out and find that the people that work for the Foundation are very committed to this very worthwile cause.

2 Carol49

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I'm a new volunteer to the Fistula Foundation, helping with some of the CEO's upcoming presentations. I'm deeply impressed by the staff's passion for their mission as well as the mission itself. They show great focus and a fierce commitment to improving the lives of women with this condition. As a volunteer those are two things I look for; I want to have a sense that my contributions have a tangible effect both for the nonprofit and the people they serve. I feel confident on both counts, and I look forward to continuing to work with them.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering for the Fistula Foundation in December 2011 because I wanted to do something positive over my holiday break. I chose the Fistula Foundation because they were close to my home, and because I was familiar with fistulas after seeing the movie A Walk To Beautiful. I later became part-time staff to be able to continue my work with them on a regular basis. I feel that a fistula is such a debilitating yet treatable/preventable injury for so many women worldwide that I want to do whatever I can to reduce the number of women who live with this condition every day. The Fistula Foundation is making it possible for me to make a difference to women around the world, and to help women regain their dignity. The Foundation is run by a small staff who work hard on a lean budget, so that most of the money goes to fistula repair. The work I do in the office is not always glamorous, but I know every time I am there that I have made a difference in the lives of many women. Everyone has been friendly and kind whenever I am there, and I look forward to the days I go in. They make sure everyone feels welcome, and that everyone has a way to volunteer and make a difference. I would certainly recommend volunteering at the Fistula Foundation to anyone.