“We don’t just treat the hole in the bladder, we treat the whole patient with love and tender care, literacy and numeracy classes, a brand new dress and money to travel home.”– Dr Catherine Hamlin
Repairing a woman’s obstetric fistula injury is not the end of her story. Having lived in social isolation for months or even years, re-entering the community can be daunting and few women have an income that allows them to live independently.
At Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s Rehabilitation and Reintegration Centre, Desta Mender, women are offered counselling, literacy and numeracy classes, as well as vocational and life skills training. Each woman is given a tailored program to suit her needs and interests.
Our Rehabilitation & Reintegration team continues to support women to find sustainable employment upon returning to their communities. In some cases, this also includes the facilitation of start-up grants to establish their own business, enabling these women to generate an income and live independently.
During FY22, 1253 patients completed numeracy and literacy educational modules at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia.
- 1253 patients completed numeracy and literacy educational modules
- 420 patients reported improved psychological condition
- 215 women graduated from the Women’s Empowerment Program
Women’s Empowerment Program
Over the past year, our new Women’s Empowerment Program has gained momentum, providing more former fistula patients with the chance to learn at Desta Mender. With the support of Women’s Hope International, this groundbreaking initiative empowers women – welcoming them to a three-month residential program to learn vital vocational skills, small business guidance and leadership training.
In FY22 the Women’s Empowerment Program trained 215 women. So far, 425 women have benefitted through this program with another 240 expected in 2023.
The quality and extent of vocational training has improved over FY22 with enhanced patient profiling, new training manuals and support from training institutes.
The feedback from former patients has been overwhelmingly positive, the program truly life changing for many women like Mulu; “I used to live in much suffering. When we were invited for this training after being cured, I was so happy and did not have words to express… I hope to open a small inn in my village and sell food.”
20 years of Desta Mender
This year marks 20 years since Dr Catherine Hamlin established Hamlin’s Rehabilitation and Reintegration Centre, Desta Mender – a place where recovering obstetric fistula patients can heal physically and emotionally.
In FY22 exciting vocational programs were undertaken in the Women’s Empowerment Program, including catering, vegetable and poultry farming, pottery and beekeeping. By obtaining practical skills, women are empowered to create a brighter future. “The seed money I received has now grown to big capital for my farming business and the training has equipped me with confidence.” – Leyat