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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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We’re Making a Difference in Afghanistan

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Campaign for Afghanistan – You Did It!

You helped raise over $200,000 for women in need You are changing lives! Thanks to over 300 kindhearted supporters like you, we fulfilled our $200,000 pledge to support vital fistula care in Afghanistan. Because of your compassion, CURE International’s dynamic, all-female fistula team can continue their critical work, filling an acute need for more female…

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Against a backdrop of continuing violence and oppression of women in Afghanistan, a heroic team of all-female surgeons are doing the nearly impossible: delivering life-changing fistula surgeries to women in need. Fistula Foundation has pledged $200,000 to help our hospital partner, CURE International. A generous donor will MATCH the first $20,000 in gifts to support…

Read Another Woman’s Story

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    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.

  • Wilmina

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    “The last 22 years have been years of great pain, loss and very deep sorrows. I lost my baby, later lost my marriage, lost friends, and lost my only family (my parents). Fistula robbed me of everything that I once valued, and I have been left very empty.”

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  • Prisca

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    Prisca was diagnosed with multiple fistulas, and feared she would have to live with the condition forever. Then, a radio program changed her life.

  • Maho

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    Nathi

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    Nathi* lives in Uganda. She was married at the age of 13 and two years later was pregnant with her first child. After enduring a difficult labor, Nathi lost her baby and was left with obstetric fistula, incontinent and leaking wastes. Her husband abandoned her and soon after, her family did, too. At 15, she was alone and scared.

  • Mulamba

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

  • Mary

    Kenya

    Mary's first two pregnancies progressed normally, giving her two healthy children. But she never could have imagined what would happen when it came time to deliver her third child.

  • Seline

    Kenya

    Seline lives in a small village in the remote region of West Pokot, Kenya. She did not go to school and married young, as is tradition in this pastoralist community. She went into labor with her fourth child about three years ago, preferring to give birth at home with a traditional birth attendant from her village. Only 18% of women give birth in a health center in this region of Kenya, far below the national average of 44%

  • Rasoanirina

    Madagascar

    Extremely shy, and embarrassed by her condition, Rasoanirina stopped going to school.

  • Florinda

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    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.

  • Kemzo

    Madagascar

    Kemzo endured two to three days of excruciating labor before being taken to get a C-section at a public hospital in Vangaindrano. The prolonged obstructed labor had resulted in obstetric fistula.

  • Hadija

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    By age 27, Hadija had already given birth to four children. Sadly, only two of her children survived. Making things worse, her last pregnancy left Hadija with an obstetric fistula.

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    Khadijah

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    Khadijah lived with fistula for 18 years, and it isolated her from everything and everyone around her. Originally from Chad's northern region of Bar Elgazel, she was married when she was only 14 years old. Her first pregnancy came three years afterwards and, not knowing the importance of seeking health care or treatment, she never received any prenatal care.

  • Soazara

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    Halima

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