At age 15, Hiwot was forced into an arranged marriage set up by her parents. During her first pregnancy, she endured a labor that lasted nine days. Hiwot lost the baby, and soon discovered that she was leaking urine.

Hiwot’s fistula remained undiagnosed and untreated for 40 years – despite the fact that she lives just 15 minutes from a health center.

“I was really hopeless..I tried repeatedly to kill myself. My husband divorced me. Some of my neighbors were no good to me.” Her relatives tried to heal her by taking her to wash in holy water. A family member finally helped Hiwot go to Mekelle Fistula Hospital. A Healing Hands of Joy Safe Motherhood Ambassador living nearby told Hiwot about the training program. “She told me the advantage of the training and the loan. I trust her. I decided to join HHOJ.”

Hiwot graduated from the Safe Motherhood Ambassador program in September 2014.

“I will teach the women in my village about their pregnancy and follow up and I would like to show the difference between delivery at home and delivery at health institutions.”