Transforming lives in Ethiopia

An ambassador for skilled midwives

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Sindayo turned a devastating injury into an opportunity to help other Ethiopian women…

“I need to do more to convince mothers to deliver at a health centre.

Sindayo is a great communicator. Unlike many Ethiopian women, she was fortunate enough to complete higher education. But she hasn’t always been lucky in life.

The labour of Sindayo’s first child was long and complicated. She tried to give birth at home. The labour was complicated but it was three days before she was able to reach a local hospital. There, she received the devastating news that her baby was stillborn.

Sindayo was later diagnosed with an injury known as obstetric fistula – a tear in the bladder or rectum as a result of enduring such a protracted labour. Soon after, her husband divorced her.Within three months of the fistula injury diagnosis, Sindayo received surgery. 

Promoting prevention

After recovering, Sindayo learned of the work of Healing Hands of Joy and knew she wanted to become a Safe Motherhood Ambassador. Safe Motherhood Ambassadors are obstetric fistula survivors who have been trained at promoting prevention of the injury, and better infant health, by educating pregnant mothers on safe delivery practices.

Alongside this training, the women are also encouraged to attend skills workshops that will develop them personally (including literacy, numeracy and income generating activities).

Sindayo’s emerging legacy

Since graduating from the SMA programme in August 2012, Sindayo has educated over 50 pregnant women – of which, 40 had prenatal care follow-up and 20 delivered their babies at a health centre with a skilled birth attendant.

Sindayo is eager to spread her knowledge even further, to prevent other women from experiencing the isolation that she did: ‘I need to do more to convince mothers to deliver at a health centre. I am trying to address the whole community by educating at local gatherings.’

In July 2014, Sindayo was invited as a keynote speaker at Ethiopia’s National Conference on Ending Obstetric Fistula. She is now widely recognised as a strong and outspoken advocate for safe, professionally supervised childbirth as a way to end obstetric fistula in communities across Ethiopia.

Donate now to help our partner, Healing Hands of Joy, train more former fistula patients like Sindayo to become Safe Motherhood ambassadors.

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