I didn't make the heading up myself. I read it on the Operation OF website. Today is the first UN International day of the Girl. Many bloggers and journalists are writing about this important initiative and there is certainly much to write.
The International Day of the Girl includes equality in education for girls, equal standing in traditional families, fighting to stop childhood marriage (where it is invariably the girl who is still the child), equal opportunities for girls, and just about every issue in which girls get less or are treated as less than boys.
One of the loudest causes has been the fight against child marriage. There are lots of obvious reasons (and some less obvious) why a girl should not be 'sold' into marriage as a young teenager. Follow @WorldVisionUK and @WorldVisionPR and World Vision’s facebook page for news and stories on #childmarriage. One of them is the biggest problem you've never heard of (or OF) - obstetric fistula.
|The Hamlin Fistula Hosptal, Addis Ababa|
Michelle describes her visit to the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa as part of the ONEMums mission. She states that the physical immaturity of the child-mothers makes this condition more likely to occur. Operation OF describes it as follows:
"Obstetric Fistula is the Biggest Problem You’ve Never Heard OF
Imagine five days of labor that end in stillbirth. As you try to pull yourself together emotionally after this unimaginable loss, you realize that you’re constantly wet. You don’t know why, but that five days of labor made a hole in your bladder that constantly leaks urine. This hole is also known as an obstetric fistula. You try to drink less, but that makes your wretched smell even stronger. Your husband thinks you’re cursed so he leaves. No one wants to work with you because you stink. You can’t even get water because you are the unclean. You are left alone on the margins of society begging for an end to your suffering. This is obstetric fistula."
|Some of the women treated at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, Addis Ababa|
And yet this condition is easily treatable with a relatively quick and simple operation. Read the women's stories on the OperationOF website. Read Michelle's account of the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa. Both have suggestions for how you can help if you are so moved. This is the issue that grabbed my attention and moved me. 11/10 is the International Day of the Girl. A girl is a girl, not a wife/mother/breadwinner. Remember what it was like to be a girl? There are, as I said, many causes involved with this Day. Find yours and make a difference.
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