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Empowering Rwandan Women Through an Educational Outreach Program

NOVEMBER 2013

We are proud to announce that our Outreach Educational Program has begun. It is our goal to educate women who come to Kibagabaga Hospital seeking our help, as well as to educate women in nearby health centers. The purpose is to talk about pregnancy and what to do so that a woman might have a safe delivery and a healthy baby, and thereby, prevent a fistula. We created an oversized picture book that tells a story of two pregnant women. The book helps the speaker to explain how to eat properly, and why pregnant women must go for pre-natal check-ups at the health centers, and urges the women to give birth in a health center or hospital where there is proper care.

To our great delight, Kibagabaga’s midwife, Immaculee Kantengwa, participated in the presentation. She was able to clearly explain the diagrams of the uterus in our picture book, and answered the medical questions that were asked by the audience. Immaculee, who had never done something like this before, came away, smiling and happy, announcing, “I really like this. Education is so important.”

Immaculee is now presenting the educational program at Kibagabaga Hospital whenever the IOWD team is present. Immaculee is an extraordinary teacher and each presentation is better than the last one! The patients are so comfortable with her, and they have begun to ask so many intimate questions.the feeling of trust and admiration for Immaculee is outstanding. The women love her! IOWD is very proud of Immaculee.she has shown her true gift for education and her dedication to helping these patients. We extend our sincere thanks to Immaculee for her compassion and efforts to improve the lives of Rwandan women.

When our team visited the Rwanda Women’s Network/Village of Hope Health Center, we received a warm welcome. Dr. Alphonse Butoyi, Obstetrician/Gynecologist at Kibagabaga Hospital (and our Liaison for the fistula program) accompanied us. He spoke to the audience, introduced the program, and encouraged the women to listen carefully and know that if they need help, we are there for them! Josiane began her presentation with Immaculee assisting her. It was an amazing experience for all of us. The Director of the Center invited us to return in February when he will have an even larger audience!

Months ago, Rwandan doctors, Ingrid Freyja-Ngendahayo and Aicha Uwamahoro, translated the copy of our book, into Kinyarwanda and English. The stories were originally in Hausa and French as we first used this marterial in Niger. Ingrid and Aicha also introduced the program to five health centers, explaining to health care workers what fistula is. Their dedication to this educational program is outstanding. Now, medical student, Darlene Lieve Nyenyere, assisted us during each presentation and will continue to work with us as we travel to other health centers to bring our message of better health care for women. Unquestionably, this program could not work without the help from Dr. Butoyi, Dr. Aicha, Dr. Ingrid, midwife, Immaculee, medical student Darlene…and of course, our brave Josiane.

Empowering Rwandan women with knowledge, and empowering the women who deliver the information, is absolutely beautiful!! And this is just the beginning…

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