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A postcard from Addis Ababa

Our CEO Helen Marriott and Chair Greg Morris travelled to Ethiopia in July to join leaders from our sister Hamlin charities from around the world for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s annual meeting. Here Helen shares a snapshot of the visit and Hamlin’s exciting plans to provide life changing health services for even more women across the country.

Helen meeting with a group of women at Hamlin’s Desta Mender rehabilitation centre, who generously shared their experiences

“I landed at Addis Ababa’s Bole airport early morning after a smooth trip from London and as I left the terminal and walked into the crisp morning air was met warmly by one of our Ethiopian colleagues. This was my first trip to Ethiopia since I joined Hamlin in 2020 and it was a real privilege to finally have the opportunity to meet the dedicated staff, chat to patients, see the facilities and be introduced to this beautiful country.

We headed straight to the Hamlin College of Midwives where I joined students’ families and friends, together with leaders of our international sister Hamlin charities to attend the graduation ceremony for Hamlin midwives class of 2022.

Led by Sister Konjit, Dean of the College, it was a  joyful ceremony celebrating the achievements of amazing young women. This group are now preparing to go out into rural communities across Ethiopia to deliver family planning services and skilled healthcare for women during pregnancy and labour, preventing fistulas and saving lives. We wished them every success as they embarked on their new careers.”

Helen with a group of current students at the Hamlin College of Midwifery celebrating the graduating class

“I then had a tour of Desta Mender, our rehabilitation centre for longer-term patients. Set in beautiful, rural surroundings I met and talked to women recovering from fistula repair surgery who generously shared their experiences.

Women at Desta Mender receive counselling and skills training that enables them to return to their families with renewed confidence and the ability to earn a living. All of them had a colourful knitted blanket around their shoulders and they expressed their gratitude to our knitters in the UK for the hard work that had gone into them!

The next two days were spent with staff from Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and our sister Hamlin charities, discussing the exciting plans for the coming year. We heard about plans to expand the facilities at the College of Midwives, to upgrade vital equipment at Yirgalem Regional Fistula Hospital and other centres and to reach even more women living with untreated fistula through patient identification activities.”

The leadership of Hamlin international partners came together for the 2022 Programme Meeting

“As I got ready to return to the UK, I reflected on the experiences of the week. My trip highlighted the positive impact you, our supporters, are having on women in Ethiopia – treating and preventing fistula and saving lives.

All this work will take us a step closer to our goal of ending fistula in Ethiopia forever. And it is thanks to your support that this is made possible.”

Best wishes,

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