Above: Supporters and Organisers of High Tea for Hamlin. Photo supplied by Elisabeth Zuvela.
The women of Lithgow have the opportunity this year to join thousands of Australians in fundraising efforts for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, at the inaugural ‘High Tea for Hamlin’ event, Saturday 29th November. Make sure you book your tickets today so that you don’t miss out on attending this event and supporting this worthy cause.
Pregnancy and childbirth should be a joyful experience for any expecting mother and her family, however too often this becomes a nightmare for many women in rural Ethiopia when adequate medical care has not been available. There is a medical condition called obstetric fistula which many of these women suffer as a result of prolonged obstructed labour. Pregnant women in rural Ethiopia have limited access to emergency obstetric services, with the nearest health facility sometimes a two-day walk from their homes. If they face obstructed labour, they will be in agony for up to a week. These women nearly always lose their baby and suffer horrific internal damage causing urinary or faecal incontinence, or sometimes both. These women then become outcasts in their society. Many of these patients, whose life has become so unbearable with sorrow and shame, wish they could die.
By raising funds together we can help see the dignity and health of these beautiful women restored through a simple surgery procedure which costs only $600. Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is an Australian charitable organisation which raises funds exclusively for the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital where these life-changing surgeries are performed. The hospital was founded by Drs Reg and Catherine Hamlin in 1974, two Australian doctors who moved to Ethiopia in 1959 to work as obstetricians and to start a midwifery school. More than 50 years later Dr Catherine Hamlin continues in this work and her inspirational story can be read in her autobiography The Hospital by the River. Many of these woman living in rural areas are too poor to ever dream of being cured. Yet a new life is available to them at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, where the surgery is offered at no charge.
In addition to the main hospital in Addis Ababa, there are five regional centres along with the Hamlin College of Midwives. Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia understands the great need for skilled midwives who are able to assist women to have a healthy and safe pregnancy and childbirth. The Hamlin College of Midwives is an important step towards a sustainable prevention strategy for the women and girls of Ethiopia to avoid obstetric fistula in the first place. Long-term patients can also receive care and learn micro-business skills at Desta Mender, a farm and training facility, until they are able to return to their homes and villages. Further reading on Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and its inspirational work can be found at http://www.hamlin.org.au.
The event in Lithgow is already gaining an amazing amount of support.
“Tickets are selling fast,” said Elisabeth Zuvela. “The community in Lithgow has been amazing.”
She added that her mother Maria Zuvela, who has been one of the driving forces behind seeing High Tea for Hamlin come to Lithgow, has been very pleased with the support being shown by the businesses in Lithgow.
It looks like Maria’s passion to help has touched many in the community. Westfund, who have donated $500 to the cause said that they “were moved by the stories and inspired by Maria’s resolve to make a difference to these women’s lives.”
To make a tax deductible donation on behalf of Lithgow’s event please go to www.hamlinfistulafundraising.com/Lithgowclc and select ‘Donate.’ The Australia-wide goal for the Spring High Tea events is to raise $200,000 to assist some of the most marginalised women in the world.
When: 2pm, Saturday 29th November, 2014
Where: Lithgow Christian Life Centre, 50 Musket Parade, Lithgow
Cost: $25. Bookings are essential. RSVP Saturday 15th November.
Bookings: Maria Zuvela M: 0403 956 159 E: firstname.lastname@example.org