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Fistula

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you Isaiah 66:13

As we look forward to celebrating the gift of mothers this Mother’s Day, it’s appropriate to remember those women who do not have help when it’s often most needed – during childbirth.

There is a disability that makes mothers shrink from the world in shame and disgrace. It is called fistula. And it disrupts the lives of women like Diana. To protect her children, Diana kept her fistula a secret for twenty-three years. If anyone had found out, Diana’s children would have been crushed by the taunts:

“Your mum smells.”

“Your mother leaks urine.”

Twenty-three years ago, Diana’s joy over her first child turned to tragedy. Her baby became stuck during a long and agonising labour and died in Diana’s arms shortly after birth.

At the time Diana didn’t realise that her baby had torn a hole – a fistula – inside her birth canal.

Diana separated herself from everybody. She could have no friends. She never went out, except to church; rushing home before urine leaked out and revealed her shameful secret.

“I was so ashamed and so desperate. I was constantly dripping and I smelled strongly.”

Most women with fistula are rejected by their families, but Diana’s husband is a very special man. Benson has watched his beloved wife endure twenty-three years of loneliness, shame and despair.

Can you believe Diana actually had two operations! But the surgery was botched. Twice! If only she had heard that there was somebody to help her.

Eventually, when Diana had given up all hope of recovery and of leading a normal life, Benson heard about a cbm-supported hospital on the radio. Expert fistula surgery, free!

Diana wasn’t so sure. Her hope had gone and she did not think there was any chance of a cure. But one day her son asked, “Mum, what’s that strange smell?” She knew then that her secret was no longer safe and agreed to visit the surgeon. Benson took Diana to the cbm- funded hospital, into the loving care of head nurse Emelda Lwena.

Despite Diana’s fears, her cbm surgery was a complete success. “I’m so happy and feel free after so many years,” she said, wiping away tears of joy.

Diana and Benson could never have paid for the operation of such a high standard. It is thanks to supporters like you that Diana’s life has been restored.

But there are many other women who desperately need your help. There are so many ways you can say “I am celebrating Mother’s Day with a gift for women with fistula.”

You can spread hope with a gift fistula radio broadcasts, posters on buses and mobile clinics to find the desperate women who keep themselves so well hidden.

These women need four weeks in hospital to recover. Your gift will contribute to her expenses, food and accommodation and training in a new life skill and your generous gift will help pay for the surgery to set a woman free from fistula, restoring her to her family and friends.

Please help urgently, because with current levels of support we can only treat about one in ten of the women who develop fistula in a country like Tanzania. Please help us to reach more women, before they disappear into lives of secret shame and endless misery.

When God describes the depths of His great love, he uses the example of a mother. “As a mother comforts her child.” Today, desperate mothers like Diana need comfort too. What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day. Give them a whole new life, free from fistula.

And, if you donate $100 or more, we will send you a beautiful Binti Doll brooch, made with love by one of the ladies recovering from fistula surgery.