Transforming lives in Ethiopia

“The sun is out for me and my daughter”

Reading time: 2 min

Headshot of M. Seyoum

"To hear this is amazing. To be part of this change is even more encouraging and inspiring."

Headshot of M. Seyoum

The isolation of obstetric fistula

Aberash felt she’d been cursed.

For 25 years, she lived with incontinence, pain and depression, caused by an obstetric fistula injury she developed during childbirth.

During this time, her daughter also developed fistula. For five years, they supported each other, enduring this trauma together. They believed it was just the way their life had to be. 

Obstetric fistula is an internal tear or hole in the delicate tissue between the birth canal and bladder and/or rectum. It often occurs following a prolonged, obstructed labour, when a woman has had to give birth at home without trained medical assistance.

Many women, like Aberash and her daughter, live in isolation, unaware that they could be cured.

But it is treatable, and preventable.

Ambassadors for Safe Motherhood

Our partner’s Safe Motherhood Ambassadors (SMAs) are women who have experienced this trauma. After their treatment, they train in order to raise awareness of the importance of accessing maternal healthcare. They work hard to find women who are living with obstetric fistula, helping them access the care they need.

"The sun is out"

Genet is one of the inspirational SMAs. She found Aberash and her daughter. She brought them to the centre in Hawassa where they could be treated, and they are both now fully cured.

Aberash shared: “It’s not easy to live with fistula for 25 years. I was not able to do the things that I love doing and I was not able to support my family and I felt so bad.” She said thanks to God first and then to Genet, saying “the sun is out for me and my daughter now”.

By donating to our Maternal May appeal, you are a part of this change. With your help, our partners can continue to be there for people like Aberash and her daughter.

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