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Stories of Hope

March 31, 2022
Equipping for Success – Asmira’s Story

Before joining the Equipping programme at Hamlin Fistula, Asmira struggled to provide for her family. Now she and her family are thriving, thanks to the skills she learned.

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February 13, 2022
Five Days Without a Midwife: Almaz’s story

For five perilous days, Almaz endured an obstructed labour in her small Ethiopian village without a midwife. Without appropriate medical care, Almaz’s condition seriously deteriorated, and led to her suffering an obstetric fistula injury. The devastating impact of those five days without a midwife would be felt for ten long years.

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February 13, 2022
Midwifery Student Rahmet is Learning How to Prevent Fistulas

In the final year of her degree, Rahmet spent three months attending practical clinical placements, while also learning about mental health care in midwifery practice, health service management and understanding ultrasound. While she was on this placement, Rahmet saw the impact of Hamlin Midwives firsthand: “During my spring placement there were no fistula cases,” she recalls.

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February 13, 2022
Elfinesh's Life After Fistula

Elfinesh has been running her shop for the last three years, where she sells a wide variety of products needed for life in a rural town in northwestern Ethiopia. You could find just about anything you need in her small shop – from spices to soap, cooking oil to safety pins. Hanging from the roof are small packs of washing powder and sachets of yeast – an ingredient often added to make injera (an Ethiopian bread similar to a savoury crêpe).

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February 13, 2022
Dubalech's Story

At the age of 13, Dubalech was raped near her home by a stranger. The very active teenager lost confidence and became greatly depressed. She quit school and isolated herself from her friends and classmates. 

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February 13, 2022
Asrebeb's Story

When we first met Asrebeb, she weighed only 22kg. She had been living in a dark hut for more than six years. She was malnourished and in terrible pain. Her muscle contractures were so severe that it took months of intensive physiotherapy before she could even straighten her legs. Asrebeb’s health issues are so complex that she lives full time at Desta Mender. This is just thirty minutes from the main hospital, where she can receive specialist medical care as required. The great news is that recently she was able to throw away her walking sticks and can now walk without assistance.

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February 13, 2022
Midwives Create Opportunities for Life

Hiqlimay is just a young girl, but at 13, she is already mother to a two-month old baby, safely delivered by Hamlin midwife Tizita in the Hamlin centre at Dogu. Although married young in the traditional manner, she and her husband are a modern young couple with big plans. In three months time, he will be leaving Hiqlimay for two years to study nursing at university. Wanting to be cautious, they agreed that she should come back to Dogu to see the midwife about contraception. They don’t want her to fall pregnant before he leaves, especially since she will be returning to school for the 7th grade while her mother cares for her baby.

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February 13, 2022
Midwife Hero

Young Hamlin midwife Tisita, at 23, already exhibits the hard work ethic and heroic attitude inspired by her own heroine, Dr Catherine Hamlin.

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February 13, 2022
Toyiba’s Life Restored 

Toyiba’s childhood was a traditional one. She did not attend school, instead spending her days looking after her family’s cattle and sheep, collecting water from a distant water hole and collecting firewood. When she was not attending to these many chores, she was helping her mother at home.

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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.