Meet Goni

Goni is fifteen years old and lives in a small village in the hills of northeastern Ethiopia. She married and became pregnant. During labor she developed a fistula; her husband abandoned her after the injury became apparent.

Goni's Story

Fortunately, Goni’s mother took her to receive treatment at the Teaching Hospital in Gondar on the first day it was open. This treatment center was funded by Fistula Foundation and WAHA to help women like Goni. Its medical director, Dr. Mulu Muleta, is one of the most accomplished fistula surgeons in the world. Today, Goni is dry and is back in her home town in the mountainous Tigray region of Ethiopia.

About Ethiopia

  • Population: 102,374,044
  • Average Births per Woman: 5.07
  • Female Literacy: 41.1%
  • Population Living in Poverty: 29.6% (less than $1.25/day)
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We’re Making a Difference in Ethiopia

Read Another Woman’s Story

  • Florinda


    Living in a small village in central Angola, Florinda was married in her teens and became pregnant at 16. Without access to emergency obstetric care, her difficult delivery caused her to develop a fistula. But today, she is smiling again.

  • Francine


    She became pregnant with her first child around age 17. Things did not go as planned, and Francine found herself in labor for three days. Finally, she was taken to a hospital where her baby was delivered via C-section. As a result of her prolonged obstructed labor, Francine had developed an obstetric fistula.

  • Beauty


    Beauty developed a fistula five years ago after a very complicated delivery. She told doctors at St. Francis Mission Hospital that she prayed every day for a miracle, never knowing that her leaking was actually caused by a medical condition for which free treatment was available.

  • Mulamba

    Democratic Republic of Congo

    With her health restored, Mulamba is eager to return to her job as a schoolteacher.

  • Hauwa


    Hauwa was 60 years old when she became aware that the fistula she had suffered with for over 40 years could be repaired for free at our partner hospital, Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center (EVFC).

  • Betty


    Betty developed fistula during her first pregnancy, after laboring at home for seven days. Her baby did not survive. Today, she is healthy once again thanks to free surgery provided through the Action on Fistula program.

  • Landy


    Landy became pregnant at 14 years old. When it came time to deliver, she labored at home as most women do in her village. But after a day of excruciating pain, her labor did not progress and her family took her to the village hospital. The baby did not survive.

  • Selina


    Selina, a traditional birth attendant from remote West Pokot, Kenya, helped eight women from her village get life-changing fistula surgery. And she’s not done yet.

  • Fistula Foundation - Maria



    Maria is 42 years old. She is HIV-positive and currently on antiretroviral therapy. Maria doesn’t have a permanent place to live – she cannot work because of her incontinence, and has no real income to live on. She survives through the ongoing support of her relatives and friends.

  • Yvonne


    After suffering from obstetric fistula for 17 years, Yvonne boarded a bus that would take her to treatment. She was hopeful that on her return ride, she would be traveling in a dry dress for the first time in nearly two decades.

  • Jahanara


    Jahanara is just 23 years old. She was in labor for a full day at home before going to a hospital for an emergency C-section. By then, unfortunately, the damage had already been done.

  • Jane


    Conducting patient outreach in rural western Kenya, Jane faces a number of challenges—including threats to her life—as she travels in search of women suffering with fistula. But knowing there are many women who are enjoying life once again thanks to her efforts gives great meaning to her work.

  • Jenipher


    While giving birth to her fifth child in 1998, Jenipher endured a prolonged labor, and her baby was stillborn. Afterwards, Jenipher began leaking uncontrollably- she had developed an obstetric fistula. After 18 years of living with fistula, she had all but given up hope of getting treatment, until she heard a comforting voice on the radio.

  • Helen


    Helen went into labor with her second child about four years ago. She gave birth in her home, where she labored for many hours, completely alone without anyone present to assist her. Her baby was stillborn and she began leaking urine immediately.

  • Meet Gladys



    Although she lives in a remote village in southwestern Kenya, successful patient outreach efforts helped Gladys get the treatment she needed. Now recovered, she has started a small business to support herself and her two children.

  • Bilkis


    Bilkis is just 20 years old. She developed an obstetric fistula during the delivery of her first baby. Bilkis delivered under the guidance of a traditional birth attendant who encouraged her to continue her labor at home despite the fact that she had already been in labor for two days.

  • Jacklyn


    Jacklyn is just 29 years old, but has faced enough heartbreak to last a lifetime. Born and raised in Kisii County in western Kenya, Jacklyn was raised by her older sister because their parents abandoned them when she was a small child. She was never able to go to school because she had to do odd jobs along with her older sister in order to have enough food to eat at the end of the day.