Empowering Kenyan Fistula Survivors—and Soccer Stars!—to Sew Covid-19 Masks for the Community
In Kenya, Fistula Foundation’s partners use a number of creative ways to help women with obstetric fistula regain their health and confidence. Obstetric fistula is a wrenching childbirth injury that leaves a woman incontinent—and too often, suffering women hide themselves in shame. Corrective surgery and strong support services are essential for a woman’s full recovery.
Women and Development Against Distress in Africa (WADADIA) is one of Fistula Foundation’s key partners in Kenya. Among its many activities, WADADIA helps women re-adjust to daily life after surgery. They offer psychological counseling, economic empowerment, and job skills training like hairdressing and sewing.
The rural community where WADADIA works has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Amidst a sharp economic downturn, many women in the community are struggling to put food on the table, let alone afford pandemic essentials like face masks. To help, the fistula survivors in WADADIA’s rehabilitation program have doubled down on their sewing skills. They are making as many face masks as they can for neighbors in need.
“I am absolutely delighted to be of help during this pandemic,” said Metrine, a fistula survivor. “I am in a unique position to help sew masks that play a huge role in minimizing the spread of coronavirus.”
Metrine is working alongside other strong women, like Melania, a fistula survivor who is now a hairdressing instructor at WADADIA. When she heard that the tailoring department needed help, she traded her scissors for a sewing machine and decided to pitch in.
These extraordinary women aren’t working alone. During the pandemic, they’ve also joined forces with one of WADADIA’s most unique programs—a women’s soccer team called “Kick Fistula Out of Africa.” The team is dedicated to spreading the word about obstetric fistula in Kenya. Several fistula survivors play on the team, and at games, they conduct public health education at halftime.
Unfortunately, when Covid-19 struck, their league was forced to cancel its season. Now, instead of soccer matches, the women on the team are pitching in to help WADADIA make as many face masks as possible. Players like Monica Odato, captain of “Kick Fistula Out of Africa,” are glad for the opportunity to continue helping their community.
Fistula Foundation is the global leader in fistula treatment, providing more repair surgeries to more women than any other organization. We partner with carefully selected doctors, hospitals, and outreach partners—like WADADIA—trusted by the communities they serve.
To help our partners respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, Fistula Foundation has opened a Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund. This fund is separate from our fistula treatment program and will close when a vaccine becomes available. If you would like to learn more about Fistula Foundation’s mission to end obstetric fistula, or our work addressing the Covid-19 crisis, please visit: www.fistulafoundation.org