Inspiring Moms of May: Fistula Survivor Embraces Motherhood


At Direct Relief, May is for moms. Throughout the month, we will regularly honor mothers around the world who inspire us. Today’s story comes from a partner based in western Kenya, Women and Development Against Distress in Africa.

Sarah Adhiambo, a 32-year-old mother of two, is an obstetric fistula survivor from western Kenya who is able to embrace the true meaning of motherhood following her life-restoring surgery.

Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged and obstructed labor. If untreated, it results in constant and uncontrollable leakage of urine and/or feces, which cause many women affected by the condition to suffer humiliation, isolation, and stigma.

Sarah was no exception. After she developed a fistula during her second delivery in 2008, she and her husband separated for three years. During that time, she felt alone and hopeless. She had no idea that repair was possible.

It wasn’t until Sarah was identified and booked for surgical repair by an outreach worker with Direct Relief partner Women and Development Against Distress in Africa – an organization that offers various support services for the most undeserved women in western Kenyan – that things began to look up for Sarah.

The community encouraged Sarah and her husband to reunite once she was on the repair list. Following her surgery last May, she decided to adopt her late brother’s child as a way of thanking God for the gift of life and healing.

“Conceiving and delivering a child is not motherhood. Motherhood is all about being able to give a smile to the little angels you love and treasure, meeting their emotional and physical needs,” said Sarah.

With a full family, she is now very stable and back to managing their family business – a bar and restaurant in Bungoma town.

Direct Relief helps restore health and dignity to women like Sarah by supporting organizations conducting obstetric fistula outreach, repair, and re-integration services, such as Women and Development Against Distress in Africa, with needed medical supplies as well as grants.

To donate to this life-restoring work, click here.

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