Meet Wilmina

“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.”

Wilmina's Story

“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,” Wilmina shared.

Wilmina was married at the age of 18. Like other girls in her village in this position, Wilmina was excited and full of expectations for her new married life. Everything went blissfully until complications arose during her first childbirth. She ended up delivering a stillborn child through a Caesarean section. It was a devastating time for her.

“As I went through the trauma of losing my baby, I kept reassuring myself that I would soon recover and move on. But little did I know that there was another tragedy waiting to strike. On the 5th day following my delivery, I woke up and found all my bedding wet. When I stood up, urine poured on the floor. After consultation from the nurse’s desk, it was confirmed that I had developed an obstetric fistula. My world tore apart, my dreams shattered and my hope faded away when I was told that my condition was not treatable,” said Wilmina.

There is a saying in Wilmina’s community, that “When Mr. Problems knocks on your door, he comes in in with his entire clan.”

When Wilmina was discharged from hospital, her husband accompanied her home. He had acted very supportive at the hospital, but she would soon realize that it was an act. As soon as they got home, Wilmina found all of her belongings already packed. That same day, her husband escorted her back to her parents’ home, claiming that Wilmina was a bad omen to his family.

“Was it really my fault? Did I make a mistake by fulfilling my divine mandate of child bearing? Is it wrong to be born a woman?” These were the questions that Wilmina kept asking herself.

Then, tragedy struck again. One day, Wilmina returned to her parents’ house after fetching water, to discover that her parents had been murdered in cold blood.

“It was not easy for me to handle all of that with my obstetric fistula and all the problems surrounding my life, and yet being the only child of my parents. After my parents’ burial, I was asked to leave because my uncle was now the rightful owner of all that belonged to my father since I was not a male child.

“A good Samaritan took me in and built me a small hut on the furthest end of his farm, which I deeply appreciate,” Wilmina shared. “For 22 years I have lived there. I have been sent into loneliness, I have lost all, misfortunes have pursued me, and tears have been like my daily bread. Every day I ask myself why am I still alive?”

Wilmina has undergone three corrective surgeries, all of which have been unsuccessful. When she spoke with Fistula Foundation, she was awaiting her fourth surgery at our partner facility, Gynocare Women’s & Fistula Hospital, where her surgery will be supported through our Action on Fistula program.

She is trying to remain hopeful, but after so much sadness, it is difficult. Instead she asks, “Will I ever know a good life?”

About Kenya

  • 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)
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Read Another Woman’s Story

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  • 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.

  • Kabuli, from Afghanistan (photo credit: CURE International)



    Kabuli, from Afghanistan, is the third of four wives. When she developed a fistula after enduring obstructed labor without any emergency medical care, her husband forced her into isolation within his home. Living in shame, Kabuli thought she would be miserable for the rest of her life.

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  • Christine A.


    Christine loved her husband and bore him six children. But after he died, Christine's life changed when she was forced to marry her eldest brother-in-law, who cared very little for her or her children. She became pregnant with her seventh child, enduring a prolonged labor that left her with obstetric fistula. Her new husband shunned her and kicked her out of her home. But then she found hope.

  • Sofia - WAHA



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  • Nathi-Uganda



    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.

  • Rasoandrana Marie Lucie


    Rasoandrana Marie Lucie became pregnant at the age of 15. Her labor began in April, 2016, and lasted for an excruciating three days. Eventually, the baby was delivered via C-section at a government hospital. The child did not survive. Not long after, Rasoandrana began leaking urine: the difficult labor had left her with obstetric fistula.

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