Empowering women through regular giving

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Catherine Hamlin Celebration Dinner

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Walk for Ethiopian mothers

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What is obstetric fistula?

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Join us to ensure the health and dignity of women by treating and preventing terrible childbirth injuries.

We’ve restored the dignity of over 60,000 women.

At the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation, we are dedicated to restoring the health and dignity of women who have survived the horrendous – and preventable – childbirth injury: obstetric fistula.

Founded over 60 years ago by pioneering Australian surgeons Drs Catherine and Reg Hamlin, their extraordinary journey started with an initial three-year posting to Ethiopia. Today, it reflects a lifetime quest to provide world best treatment to the most marginalised women: those who have suffered an obstetric fistula, an internal injury caused by a prolonged, unrelieved obstructed labour, which leaves them incontinent, humiliated and cut off from their communities.

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Fistula sufferers are the lepers of the 21st century.

These injuries are entirely preventable. Obstetric fistulas are virtually a thing of the past in countries like Australia. But in rural Ethiopia, where women have little or no access to maternal healthcare, they will be in agonising labour for days if their birth is obstructed. They almost always lose their baby and suffer horrific internal damage that leaves them leaking urine, faeces, and sometimes both.

If that wasn’t traumatic enough, these women are isolated and pushed to the edge of their society – forgotten and invisible.

Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia works to mend this trauma, healing these women through surgery, rehabilitation and counselling – so they can be whole again.

Established by Dr Catherine Hamlin, the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation raises funds for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. We have one purpose and one purpose only: eradicating fistula.


What we have accomplished to date


women treated


midwifery graduates to date


years of continuous operation


Ethiopian staff

Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation has one purpose and one purpose only: eradicating fistula. Forever.

I loved her and all she stood for. Faith, hope and charity; a golden life of service, selflessness, accomplishment.

– Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO

Most of her 96 years were generously given to help the poor women of our country with traumatic birth injuries. We are all thankful for Catherine’s lifelong dedication. We promise to continue her legacy and realise her dream to eradicate fistula from Ethiopia. Forever.

– Tesfaye Mamo, Chief Executive Officer, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia

Help finish what Catherine started

You can support the obstetric fistula foundation today by making a tax-deductible donation.

Obstetric fistula can be repaired with a single life changing surgery. This operation can take as little as two hours for simple cases.

Catherine’s dream was to eradicate fistula forever, so that every woman can be free of these atrocious injuries and live a life they deserve.

A life every woman deserves.



$50 could provide physiotherapy
for one patient.

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Education classes

$150 could provide literacy and numeracy
classes to a recovering patient.

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Standard fistula surgery

$700 could fund one standard fistula operation in
a Hamlin regional hospital, restoring a woman’s life.

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Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation has one purpose and one purpose only: eradicating fistula. Forever.