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Stories of Hope

November 21, 2022
Thank you for bringing my life back

Birth injuries and stillbirth are a part of the often unseen and uncounted collateral damage of war. This is twenty-five-year-old Fatuma’s story Fatuma is originally from a remote rural village in Northern Ethiopia, a war affected region facing devastating damages from the recent conflict. Traditionally, survival revolves around farming the family land for a subsistence […]

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November 21, 2022
A happy ending for Emama

There is a hidden epidemic of pelvic organ prolapse among women in rural Ethiopia Emama thinks she is about 60 years old. She is the proud mother of six grown children, all lucky to survive her unattended births in her remote North Ethiopian village. Life was relatively happy for Emama and her husband until the […]

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July 4, 2022
Meet Hamlin Midwife Etenesh Askenaw – Transforming Maternity Care

For twenty-seven-year-old Etenesh, studying health was her life-long dream. When Hamlin approached her about a midwifery scholarship she didn’t hesitate to apply. Born and raised in the small town of Gorgora, located on the shore of Lake Tana where the Blue Nile River starts its long journey, Etenesh studied at the Hamlin College of Midwives […]

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July 4, 2022
Hawwa’s story: “You brought me back to hopefulness”

Not every fistula is caused by obstructed childbirth. For Hawwa, her injury was caused by traumatic sexual intercourse. Hawwa was only 13 when her parents arranged her marriage to a much older man. Although she had been lucky enough to attend five years of school in her rural village in Northern Ethiopia, marriage ended her […]

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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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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.