Many patients at the Shelter, and women with fistula, are often unable to return to their previous employment due to their disability. Also, women living with inoperable fistula are marginalised, ostracised and often desperately poor.
One of the things we were asked to do by both our project partners was to develop a program that provided for occupational rehabilitation and employment for their patients and our Circles of Hope initiative has been developed to do just that. Meet Saguna – She is our wonderful Fistula Project Manager and the leader of our Circles of Hope initiative.
Our Circles of Hope initiative comprises a Days for Girls Enterprise operating out of a dedicated sewing space at NHEDF’s Shelter http://www.daysforgirls.org manufacturing both DfG patented products and our very own incontinence pads.
It has taken some time to set this up but we started with Ambassador of Women’s Health training for three staff members. We then received funding for set up costs from the wonderful Rotary Club of Hall in Canberra, Australia. This enabled NHEDF to establish a dedicated sewing space within their building, purchase two sewing machines and Saguna has been receiving sewing skills training from another wonderful organisation in Nepal. It has also enabled NHEDF to commence the process to register Circles of Hope as a social enterprise.
We are still waiting for Days for Girls Enterprise training to happen but Saguna has started to teach sewing skills to one of NHEDF’s patients who was the victim of an acid attack who would love to work with Circles of Hope.
Eventually Circles of Hope will be self-sustaining but initially we will be reliant on your generosity to enable selected NHEDF patients and/or their carers, including women with fistula, to have the opportunity to access to sewing skills training, flexible employment and an income.
Donations to our fistula project will help provide women living with fistula with our very own expertly designed, waterproof, reusable, washable incontinence pads, as well as supporting their medical care on a case by case basis.
Women with fistula currently use only rags which have no waterproofing and experience physical, emotional and social consequences of their incontinence. If they do still live with their families, they are usually banished to an outhouse or stable and are banned from public transport because they smell. They experience all sorts of skin issues as a consequence of being wet and/or dirty ranging from sores, chafing, excoriation and infections and the only incontinence products currently available in Nepal which could help are disposable, only found in major towns and cities and cost up to $1 each so are unaffordable for most people who need them.
Watch this space!