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Learn from My Story

Women Confront Fistula in Rural Uganda

In August 2007, the ACQUIRE Project (managed by EngenderHealth) partnered with the Center for Digital Storytelling and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Uganda to coordinate a workshop for Ugandan women who have experienced obstetric fistula.

At an orientation session held one month prior to the workshop, participants were given disposable cameras, taught how to use them, and asked to take photos of their homes and villages. During a subsequent four-day workshop, they shared their stories with one another in a group process, recorded narration, and drew pictures to illustrate their lives. A team of trainers combined the photos with the drawn images, as well as video shot on location. While editing was underway, participants visited the hospital where they had been treated and offered advice and support to women awaiting repair. The workshop ended with a screening of the stories and testimony by participants about their increased sense of self-worth and desire to speak out in their villages about fistula repair and prevention.

These videos recount hardships and celebrate achievements related to the participant's daily struggles with pregnancy, loss, and relationships, as well as their search for safety, acceptance, and dignity.  Our hope is that viewers will come away with greater compassion, as well as an understanding of what causes fistula, how women can be repaired, and why community members, the health sector, and policymakers all have critical roles to play in prevention.

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