I first heard about Dr Catherine Hamlin many years ago from my Godmother. She had seen Dr Hamlin speak in person and was inspired to donate to the foundation. Some years later while training as a doctor in women’s health I learned more about the devastating consequences of obstetric fistula. I read “The Hospital by the River” on a family camping holiday and, like many others, I was deeply moved by Catherine’s story and mission. As soon as we arrived home from that holiday, I signed up to become a regular donor.
I was thinking about how the values of the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation resonate with me in multiple ways. As a health care worker, I know that childbirth injuries are both curable and preventable.
As a woman, I am grateful for the health care I have had, and I believe that every woman should be similarly supported and cared for in childbirth, no matter where she lives in the world. As a mother, I want my daughters to have confidence, independence, and a sense of self-worth – the Hamlin Foundation wants this for all women. I was thinking that becoming a regular donor would be a meaningful way to make a difference.
The Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation is an organization with a single mission: to end obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. It’s the way they are achieving that mission, however, that is what makes them so special. Hamlin’s holistic approach – treating the whole woman, not just the injury – and their focus on prevention through training midwives, transforms not only the patient’s lives but the lives of their families, their midwives and the communities they serve.
I think that back in 1959 when Catherine & Reg Hamlin first arrived in Ethiopia, no one could have imagined the magnitude of what they would eventually achieve. Without a doubt, their dedication, passion and fundraising efforts are the foundations upon which Hamlin’s facilities stand today. They have transformed the lives of many thousands of women. Through training and employing Ethiopian staff however, they have also built an organization that is now proudly Ethiopian. Despite Catherine & Reg’s passing, their legacy will therefore continue on, delivered predominantly by Ethiopians rather than relying upon international staff, and I love that this makes it a robust and sustainable organization.
While any donation is helpful, an ongoing commitment can achieve more in the long term. In 2019 I was lucky enough to join the Hamlin 17 Day Ethiopian Adventure and visit Hamlin’s facilities, meeting patients, staff, and even Dr Catherine Hamlin herself. This firsthand experience exceeded everything I thought I already knew about the organization and the quality & impact of the work they do. I feel like I have a lifelong relationship with the organization now, and being a regular supporter helps me maintain that connection.
If you want to support an organization that will use your donation as effectively as possible, where it is needed most, to genuinely change lives for the better, then the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation is a wonderful choice.
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is on track to achieve its goal of eradicating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia by 2030. They are already looking at ways that they can continue to improve the lives of women and girls beyond this time. This is an organization with not only a strong history and a lasting legacy, but an ambitious vision for the future. Give them your support and just watch what they can achieve!
If you would like to join our amazing community of committed Hamlin regular givers, click here. A monthly gift of $45 will fund a standard fistula operation in one year.