Money raised will go to the Hamlin Fistula Hospital (HFH) in Ethiopia to provide treatment for females who experienced excessive tearing during childbirth as well as education and training of local midwives.
Ms Kassem was inspired to raise funds for the hospital after reading The Hospital by the River about HFH.
‘It disturbed me to read about the woman who had endured such hard labours for days and often lost their children,’ she said.
‘I couldn’t fathom their pain and heartbreak, and then the physical and emotional trauma of being shunned by society.
‘Regardless of race, colour, religion or ethnicity, giving birth and becoming a mother safely is a fundamental human right, and not a death sentence from very preventable injuries.’
Ms Kassem said the number of obstetricians and midwives in Ethiopia was limited for the population size, with very little antenatal, birthing or post-natal healthcare for pregnant women.
‘There is also limited access to emergency obstetric services in rural areas,’ she said.
‘If a woman experiences an obstructed labour they can be in agonising labour for days and days.
‘They almost always lose their baby and suffer horrific internal damage with the bladder and rectum affected.’
Ms Kassem said those women were pushed to the edge of their society because they were seen as too filthy to be a part of village life and considered a curse. ‘Sadly, these deaths and injuries can be prevented with proper education and healthcare,’ she said.
‘Women are much safer and fortunate to give birth in Australia compared to the suffering of many women in Ethiopia where healthcare isn’t so readily available and of the same quality.’
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