Fistula Foundation was recently featured on Twenty Something Living, a blog for young people that addresses a wide range of topics, including ways to make a difference. This holiday season, they suggest ‘Giving Love’ through our Love A Sister program.
Giving gifts for the holidays can be confusing and entirely too expensive. When looking for unique and thoughtful presents, why not give something focused on the betterment of someone in worse circumstances than your own? The holidays don’t have to be about breaking the bank or shoving more un-used gifts into some free space in the closet, they can be an opportunity to help another human.
There are many issues, domestically and internationally, that need volunteering or funding. One issue needing extreme attention, that has pulled on my soul, is the occurrence of obstetric fistulas in women in third world countries, especially those in Africa. I know that’s a mouthful, so let me define this term for you. A fistula is a tear that can form in any part of the body, enabling a hole to develop between organs. An obstetric fistula is a tear that forms between the rectum and the vagina or the vagina and the bladder due to obstructed labor. This obstructed labor occurs when the bony head of the baby is lodged in the uterus or vaginal canal, and creates strain on the tissue creating a tear. A woman suffering from obstructed labor will go on average three days of painful, unproductive labor until the fetus is dislodged. Once the fetus is removed, it usually has no chance of survival, and the woman is left with a fistula which makes her incontinent. In her culture, she is ostracized for the smell the woman carries due to her being unable to control her bowel or urinary movement, and is banished into isolation, often abandoned by all family, and left to die. Heavy? Yes. Real? Yes.
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