Transforming lives in Ethiopia

Hawwa’s happy ending

Reading time: 2 min

We want to tell you about Hawwa Amanu, one of the young women whose life has been turned around thanks to Ethiopiaid supporters.

Hawwa was born and raised in a remote rural village in Oromia where she lived with her farming family. At just 15 years old she married and led a happy existence with her husband who cared very much for her. The news that she was expecting their first child was a time of great excitement and preparations began for their new family.

Hawwa’s labour was excruciating and her worried family tried every possible traditional remedy to help her. After five days of laboring Hawwa was left unconscious. Desperate, her family carried her by stretcher for five hours to the nearest town.

Sadly, it was too late to save Hawwa’s baby. Her prolonged labour had left her with a devastating and complex fistula injury. Mourning the loss of her baby and the trauma inflicted upon her body, Hawwa returned home.

“I feared eating and drinking, I lost appetite. I never got back to my husband and almost divorced. Fistula had totally ruined my life.” Hawwa said.

Hawwa Amanu

But hope was not lost. Another woman in the village told Hawwa’s mother about the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. It took three surgeries to completely cure her. Once Hawwa was completely cured she rejoined her husband to rebuild their life together. Several years after her traumatic fistula injury, Hawwa was overjoyed to find that she was expecting twins.

“And now here I am totally dry, restarting a happy family…. Thank you all for reconstructing my whole life and enabling me to become a woman with self-esteem…. no words of mouth can express my heartfelt gratitude.”

Hawwa Amanu
Hawwa waiting to deliver her twins at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital

Sadly, Hawwa’s story is not unique. There are so many women still facing a life of despair. The Ethiopian Ministry of Health estimates there are more than 36,000 women living in rural Ethiopia with obstetric fistula and that over 3,000 new cases occur each year.

Our three fistula partners are leading the Ethiopian government’s fistula taskforce. Together they aim to eradicate this devastating birth injury and help survivors resume their lives as mothers, wives and members of their community.

Women with obstetric fistula suffer terribly, but the injury is treated successfully in more than 90% of cases. Our partners combine surgery and rehabilitation to completely transform a women’s life, healing both her body and mind, returning her self-esteem and confidence.

Our partners can only continue to help women like Hawwa because of the support of people like you.

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