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DianeAs a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you

Isaiah 66:13

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. “Urine kept running down my legs uncontrollably.”

So began twenty-three years of constant washing and binding herself with towels. Urine burning her most intimate parts.  Infection an ever-present threat.

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 rare 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!

Eventually, when Diana had given up all hope of recovery and 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 of $20 towards fistula radio broadcasts, posters on buses, mobile clinics to find the desperate women who keep themselves so well hidden. 

These women need four weeks in hospital to recover. Your gift of $40 will contribute to her expenses, food and accommodation and training in a new life skill.

Your $60 will help pay for the surgery to set a woman free from fistula, restoring her to her family and friends.

It is urgent, 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, before they disappear into lives of secret shame and endless misery.

Send your gift today 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.