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!!!
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.
Wow! I cannot express how much the Worldwide Fistula Fund Inc. has impacted my personal and professional life. This organization has sprouted from the life passion of Dr Lewis Wall who started the WFF in order to provide sustainable medical care in developing countries for women with obstetric fistulas. The WWF is an on organization interested in providing not just the necessary surgical care but also the rehabilitation needs for the women as well. Women who have become victim to an obstetric fistula have a tremendous need for rehabilitation both before and after surgery so that they can go on to live productive happy lives. As a Physical Therapist, I was asked to volunteer my time and talents for this wonderfully deserving group of women. I have gained much in the process. I never imagined that my professional skills could be utilized for women in such a profound way! I am greatly appreciative that I can help and that WFF has a vision to provide sustainable care in the future! The brave women I have helped have given me insight into what is true inner beauty and for that I am grateful.
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 opportunity to volunteer as a nurse with WFF before the Danja Fistula Hospital was up and running. During that time we operated on 10 women and it was such a joy to be a part of their healing process! Many women have been rejected by husbands and families and are often cast out of their communities. At Danja, they quickly make friends with the other women. As nurses we made sure to hold hands, hug, and dance with these ladies. Some of them hadn't been touched by another person for years. WFF helps provide not only physical healing through surgery, but also emotional healing. You should see the celebrations we have during a dress ceremony which is a time of dancing, singing, and thanksgiving after the women have a successful surgery and are dry! WFF helps provide life skills to the women, and also helps train local nurses and other personnel in fistula care. Both of these activities help empower and educate local Nigeriens which is crucial for helping stop the cycle of obstetric fistula. I strongly support WFF and hope to one day be able to volunteer again at the Danja Fistula Hospital.
I have done some media work for WWF and love what the company stands for. Unlike other nonprofits, WWF continually keeps the public and donors informed on what's going on and the progress being made. They are clearly making a difference in women's international health.
I've been the volunteer anaesthesia provider at Danja Fistula Center for two months now. Working with WFF has done for my career exactly what it needed - a reinvigoration with enthusiasm through partaking in meaningful work. The long-term team are obviously dedicated and driven to deliver a holistic soution to obstetric fistulae. This is not just 'another third world facility', but a hospital that offers a high-standard service whilst being culturally sensitive. I have been very well supported by the US office.
I visited the facility in Danja to conduct a Needs Assessment for the non-profit medical supplies agency Project C.U.R.E. The needs were great and we (C.U.R.E.) expect to help with supplies. The people working there are competent and are dedicated. And the development of local staff is impressive. Most impressive however, is the impact on the lives of the women who are served by WFF. But there is more that must be done in staffing and other areas to get full benefit from the facility.
I helped out at the WFF for the last two summers, and it has been the most rewarding work I have done. The staff is so hardworking and dedicated to helping the women in Danja, and it was truly inspiring to work with them. I was also fortunate enough to visit the clinic in Niger. I met patients and saw the medical team in action. I saw how the WFF provides free, effective, and holistic care to women afflicted with fistula--and how the women were truly enabled to change their lives. I also saw how supportive the Danja community is of the WFF's efforts, and how the WFF puts back so much into the community by hiring local workers and using local resources. I believe the WFF is a top quality nonprofit that provides aid work ethically and efficiently, and I would be honored to continue helping their efforts.