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Rehabilitation & Reintegration

Restoring women's dignity

At Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, the treatment for women suffering with an obstetric fistula is not only focused on repairing the injury but restoring dignity. Upon arrival at a Hamlin hospital, patients are embraced with tender and loving care. They are given nutritious food, a handmade woven blanket, and clean clothing. A customized program is created for each woman that includes nutrition, physical therapy, counseling, and rehabilitation. 

Due to the stigma associated with obstetric fistula, many women cannot return to their communities and few have an income that allows them to live independently. That’s why Dr. Hamlin founded Desta Mender (‘Joy Village’) in 2002 as a recovery center where long-term fistula patients with severe injuries can continue to heal.  

At Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, it's not just about repairing obstetric fistula (childbirth injury), but restoring dignity through rehabilitation and reintegration.

Hamlin’s Rehabilitation and Reintegration Program

Hamlin’s Rehabilitation and Reintegration Program at Desta Mender provides a safe place for women who have been shunned by their communities due to fistula. The program offers counseling, literacy, and numeracy classes.

Vocational and life skills training is also available, and the Hamlin team supports women in finding sustainable employment upon reintegration back into 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.

  • patient files 1 | Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation (USA) | Working to eradicate obstetric fistula. Forever.

“My plan is to go back to my village and open a small merchandising shop which I will be running according to the business skills I acquired here at Desta Mender. I am more inspired now to become successful in the business and lead a happy, independent life.”


Help finish what Catherine started

Make a tax deductible donation to help eradicate fistula. Forever.
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Ethiopian Surgeons in the middle of an obstetric fistula surgery

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All rights reserved 2023 Catherine Hamlin Foundation (R) (ABN58159647499)
Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation is fiscally sponsored by KBFUS (EIN582277856) and KBF Canada (RCO769784893RR0001)

Photography credits to Cameron Bloom, Nigel Brennan, Mary F. Calvert, Kate Geraghty, Amber Hooper, Joni Kabana, Johannes Remling and Martha Tadesse.

Patient names have been changed to protect the identities of those we help.