Kristie helps women suffering from the childbirth injury Obstetric Fistula rebuild their confidence and lives through access to resources, improved community connections, and income-generating activities. The goal is to move fistula survivors into self-sufficiency and financial independence.
In 2017 Kristie returned for her 7th trip to Begi, Ethiopia to continue her efforts on behalf of fistula patients. Click HERE to read about her latest experiences hosting healing circles with the women.
Media coverage of this project:
To read a profile of Kristie's work in The Huffington Post, click HERE.
To watch Kristie's 23-minute film about this inspiring project, please click HERE.
Click HERE for the story on NPR's "All Things Considered"
Need more background information?
Kristie first traveled to Ethiopia with SalaamGarage in 2010 to raise awareness of women's reproductive health and the childbirth injury of Obstetric Fistula. In 2011, she returned for a month-long, solo 2nd trip to continue to build relationships and conduct research on the feasibility and necessary details of building a hydro-powered grinding mill.
In 2012 Kristie led a donor trip to see the completed mill and to learn more about other fistula-related programs in the country. In 2013 she twice to returned to monitor progress, visit villages and bring fistula patients together in Circle for storytelling, creative problem solving and profound healing. She also provided training on financial record keeping and transparency in the mill, hut construction for women without a safe place to live, and support for the local BGS health clinic.
Subsequent trips have expanded the work by creating further opportunities for fistula patients to identify challenges and craft practical ways to help themselves and each other move forward. Income generation activities include flocks of animals and a developing sewing cooperative to produe and distribute reusable menstrual kits.
Significant challenges still remain. In 2014, a longtime fistula support program withdraw its funding and participation in the area leaving countless women in the region with support or access to treatment. If you or your organization are able to help re-instate and underwrite this program, please reach out.