Gul-Afghanistan

Meet Gul

Gul lives in Afghanistan. At 13 years old, her father arranged for her to marry an older man who had another wife, and after one year of marriage, Gul became pregnant. When she went into labor, it lasted for two days. There were no clinics or doctors where she lived and Gul's husband became worried. He took her to her father's house, where Gul's father killed a sheep and placed the sheepskin on her as part of a traditional treatment used in her area. After three days of wearing the sheepskin, Gul delivered a stillborn baby.

Gul's Story

After delivery, Gul was unable to control her urine. At first, she thought her fistula was an illness that she would recover from. The first wife was happy about Gul’s problem because this would keep Gul away from their husband. Over time, the other wife became upset when she realized that without Gul’s help she would have to tend to the housework, almond trees, cows and oxen all by herself.

Gul suffered with her fistula for a few years before her husband took her to Kabul for treatment, then to Pakistan, and then back to Kabul. None of the surgeries she received healed her. Over this period of time, Gul had eight pregnancies. Six of her children are alive today.

Gul leaked for 12 years before receiving treatment from CURE Hospital in Kabul, a Fistula Foundation grantee partner. A neighbor had gone through successful fistula repair surgery at CURE and urged Gul to go. Her husband took her immediately.

After a four day journey by bus, Gul and her husband arrived at the hospital. Scar tissue from the previous surgeries made Gul’s operation very complicated, but eventually she was healed. When she was released from the hospital to return home with her husband, Gul’s doctors reported that she told them, “I am dry and I am happy! I am smiling and some days I am feeling like a Queen! I hope you can find more sponsors so that you can continue to help more women with this problem.”

About Afghanistan

  • Population: 33,332,025
  • Average Births per Woman: 5.22
  • Female Literacy: 24.2%
  • Population Living in Poverty: 36% (less than $1.25/day)
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