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Hamlin Barefoot Challenge 2022

We are embarking on a barefoot walking challenge to raise money for Hamlin Fistula New Zealand, a Kiwi charity committed to fistula-free and safe childbirth for women.

We will be doing the 31.4km North Shore Coastal Walk, with an estimated walk time of between 6 and 7 hours. The trail is a mix underfoot of sand, rocks, boardwalk, concrete walls to teeter along the top of, and some roads. Our walk date will be dependent on the weather, tides, and our health, but hopefully before the 23 May, which is the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.

Obstetric fistula is a devastating childbirth injury virtually unheard of in high-income countries, but which affects around 3,000 women per year in Ethiopia (and many thousands of women in other low-income countries too). An obstetric fistula is a hole between the birth canal and the bladder and/or rectum that leaves survivors with debilitating and socially stigmatising injuries. Women and girls with fistulas become incontinent and subsequently experience the worst forms of disadvantage and discrimination. Many are young when their horror stories begin, and they are rejected by their husbands, families and communities. But there is hope!

Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is a world-class centre of excellence for treating obstetric fistulas and training doctors to specialise in this surgery. Rehabilitation services such as physiotherapy, counselling and skills training are available to assist patients regain their self-esteem, find meaningful employment and reintegrate to village life.

Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia relies on the generosity of donors to continue its work in treating and preventing obstetric fistulas, ensuring Ethiopian women have holistic and compassionate healthcare.

The Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia work was started by two obstetrician gynaecologists Dr Reg Hamlin (a Kiwi from Napier) and his wife Dr Catherine Hamlin (from Australia) over 60 years ago. More than 60,000 fistula patients were treated during their lifetimes. Now, over 500 Ethiopians are employed across Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia at:
- The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital- the world’s first fistula hospital,
- Five regional hospitals providing health care to rural women,
- The Hamlin College of Midwives, and
- Desta Mender – Rehabilitation training centre for long-term patients.

Every day, many Ethiopian women walk for hours over rough, mountainous, and often treacherous terrain to reach a midwife in the hope of giving birth safely. For other women and girls, who’ve already given birth and sustained devastating childbirth injuries, their walks through remote parts of Ethiopia are in search of much needed medical treatment at their nearest hospital. Some women living in poverty show tremendous resilience and courage and do these laborious treks barefoot.
The Barefoot Challenge NZ is being completed to raise awareness and much needed funds to help give Ethiopian women and girls a brighter, healthier and more dignified future.

Please join us in making a difference through:
1. Organising your own barefoot walk or other fundraiser before 23 May. See here for details: OR
2. By giving a donation.

Every $30 can help prevent fistula through providing pregnancy and birth care for one mother and baby.

Every $815 can restore dignity with one standard fistula surgery at a regional Hamlin hospital.

$2,500 can cover one year of a student’s costs for a new Master of Science Clinical Midwifery programme. This will equip midwives to practice advanced obstetrics: caesareans, forceps deliveries, anaesthesia and other emergency surgeries and procedures.

$5,000 can support the running costs of a Hamlin Midwifery Centre for a year.

Thanks for your support!

All donations are tax deductible.

Donations $2,000
Goal $5,000

Thank you, we will notify this Barefoot Challenger of your donation. If you would prefer to remain anonymous, please tick here.

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Help us give hope to every woman.

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Hamlin Fistula NZ is committed to providing ongoing support for fistula surgery and for the preventive work of the midwives. The hospital in Addis Ababa has become a centre of excellence to which doctors from other countries come to learn and master the specialist skills of fistula surgery.

Photography credits to Mary F. Calvert, Kate Geraghty, Amber Hooper, Joni Kabana, Joli Wescombe, Natasha Meyer and Martha Tadesse.