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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

494 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

Before coming across a story about the Fistula Foundation, I had no idea about the medical condition they treat, or its repercussions , particularly in the Third World. Many women, often very young, who experience obstetric fistula, are ostracized from their society and abandoned by their husbands., A relatively simple procedure can resolve this, allowing these women to get on with their lives, and the staff of Foundation, and the doctors and nurses it funds, continue to provide and expand the opportunity for them to do so.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been glad to play a small part in supporting The Fistula Foundation over the past few years. They do wonderful, needed work in the under-developed world, and make a huge difference in the lives of so many women who otherwise would be abandoned and forgotten. Let's not forget them.
Jeffrey Falkner, Central Kentucky

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to the Fistula Foundation for some years now. I worked for many years in women's health and helped support many women through labour and birth. I have been lucky enough to have had safe and straightforward childbirths myself. I heard of this Foundation and thought it would be appropriate to donate as an expression of gratitude for my own experiences. I like the fact that they do not bombard me with donation requests but do keep me informed of where funds are being spend and what valuable changes are being made. I trust this Foundation to use their funds wisely. I think they work from their heart.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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

Donor

Rating: 5

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

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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!

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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!

Amy_124

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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!

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been donating to the Fistula Foundation for years. They do wonderful work, spend funds wisely, and are excellent at communicating with donors.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been supporting Fistula foundation since 2011 and have been continually amazed by the service and communication they provide. Every newsletter is an exciting celebration in true impact for women and families!