RPCVs-NENY Give Back: Freedom From Fistula

FistulaClinicThe RPCV NENY-sponsored Freedom From Fistula event on April 12th was a rousing success. The program included a speaker, film, patient testimonial, plus light food, and silent auction. The evening’s activities were well received and many of those who attended expressed how much they learned from the program and enjoyed the company. Through ticket sales and donations $6,362 was raised to prevent and treat obstetric fistula! The funds have been donated to the Freedom From Fistula Foundation (FFFF) to support the Fistula Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi.

RPCV-NENY’s original goal for this fundraiser was to sell fifty tickets and raise $1300. We underestimated the incredible generosity and heart of the greater northeastern New York region, and our families and friends across the country. We sold over seventy tickets and more than quadrupled our fundraising target donation. In addition, small businesses in the region and many individuals were contributors to our silent auction, which helped raise significant funds.

We wish to extend a special thanks to the congregation of Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church in Guilderland for the use of their facilities and their support.

The FFFF will use the funds for surgeries to restore a woman to health, life, and a future. Each surgery costs $500. They will also be used to support the Patient Ambassador Program at the Malawi Fistula Centre. The Patient Ambassador Program trains former fistula patients to be outreach ambassadors in remote areas of Malawi. The ambassadors identify women suffering from fistula and bring them into the center for surgery. The ambassadors also help prevent fistula by encouraging pregnant women to get to medical facilities in time to deliver with medical assistance. A portion of the funds will enable the Center to purchase bikes for the ambassadors, to further their outreach.

This event would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the steering committee that carried out the myriad required tasks over the course of several months. Quite a community was built in a short amount of time. We were also fortunate to have been able to use the blueprint of the successful 2014

RPCV NENY-sponsored Ebola event and the group now has significant “event” experience.

We are planning to create a package that documents our process and products so that other groups that want to undertake an awareness and fund raising event can be provided the tools and procedures that worked so well for us…without having to reinvent the wheel. We will distribute this how-to package to the Freedom From Fistula Foundation, and will also provide it to the National Peace Corps Association for the benefit of other RPCV groups.

~Courtesy of Becky Raymond

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The group received a thank you message from Margaret Moyo, Director of the Malawi Fistula Centre:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F214387015283092%2Fvideos%2F1046930442028741%2F&show_text=1&width=560

Click the link above to view the video. Text can be found below:

“My name is Margaret Moyo, Director, Fistula Care Center, Malawi. As a center we repair more than 350 mothers every year. We don’t just concentrate on the physical repair. We rehabilitate, empower and reintegrate these women back into society.

Our patient ambassador program is a great success. On a monthly basis we admit more than 16 mothers brought in by the Patient Ambassadors. We are very grateful for the continuing support you are giving to us.

Thanks very much.”

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