Frontline Stories

Child Marriage:Giving Women a Fresh Start - The story of Isaa

Many women develop fistula due to early childbirth. Annastacia Olembo (left), a World Vision Advocacy worker, with two women who went to Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital for surgery. "I was only 13 years old and my parents gave me to be married to an old man over four times my age. Two years later, I got pregnant. Because of a difficult delivery, I lost the baby, suffered from fistula and started leaking. My husband could not stand the smell of my body so he sent me out of his home and I was living under a tree.


Within those years of misery, I hated myself and my own life. I thought it was my fault and I had nobody to explain anything to me. Later on, I was found by World Vision Somalia. I do not know who told them about me, but they came directly to meet me under the tree. They talked with me and later took me to a hospital in Ethiopia. It was a long journey, especially when I didn’t know what to expect. In the hospital, I saw many girls sleeping in beds.

Since I was healed, [my husband] has been appealing to take me back. I refused. The shame I went through has taught me a lesson. Now I have friends, I work, pay my rent and do my gardening and spend most of my time at the [World Vision resource] centre. I just love it."

Besides contributing to the funding for the operation of the fistula hospital, World Vision Somalia provides a resource centre in Waajid where girls can attend school and are taught about maternal health along with a regular class curriculum.

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