In honor of International Women’s Day, Fistula Foundation CEO Kate Grant writes about how access to surgery and vocational training is empowering women—and impacting entire communities in the process. Read the story of Rose on Global Moms Challenge: #WomenInspire: How access to surgery and vocational training is changing lives – Global Moms Challenge Rose Chelimo…
At age 17, Jacklyn was lured by a trusted friend to a man’s house, who raped her and forced her to become his bride. Feeling like she had no other choice, Jacklyn stayed. She became pregnant in 1998 and had a healthy and active pregnancy. When the time came to deliver, she went to the local health clinic and was then referred to a district hospital. After two days of labor, Jacklyn was finally taken to the operating room where a stillborn baby was delivered via C-section. That was the last day she saw her husband, who abandoned her at the hospital. Jacklyn had complications after the C-section and had to stay at the hospital for two months, where her older sister came to visit from time to time. One of those complications was obstetric fistula, which the hospital was unable to heal and finally discharged her.
Jacklyn returned home with her sister, heartbroken to have lost her baby, her husband, and her continence. She felt like she was once again a burden to her older sister, and was unable to work due to the constant leaking of urine. She lost all her friends and the local population was unkind to her. After 17 years, or over half of her life, Jacklyn lived this way until hearing about Action on Fistula via community outreach from Daraja Mbili Vision Volunteers. Through Daraja Mbili, Jacklyn was able to access free treatment at Gynocare and is finally healed.
During her recovery, Jacklyn said with tears of joy in her eyes, “I am so happy that after all the cruelty in life, I have been able to receive some kindness of getting treated. I will cling to the knowledge that there are still kind people on the face of the earth.”
- Population: 45,010,056
- Average Births per Woman: 3.54
- Female Literacy: 84.2%
- Population Living in Poverty: 43.4% (less than $1.25/day)