Happy 100th Birthday, Catherine!

On 24 January 2024, our global Hamlin family came together to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of legendary Australian humanitarian, Dr Catherine Hamlin.

In celebration of Catherine’s centenary birthday, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia led the festivities at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. They were joined by members of Catherine’s wider family, the Board and staff of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, patients and students from the Hamlin College of Midwives, alongside local and international dignitaries including the Australian Ambassador for Ethiopia, Julia Nisbett. Catherine’s niece and nephew were also in attendance to honour their incredible aunt.

There was a warm and happy atmosphere amongst everyone there. There were heartfelt speeches about the impact of Catherine’s work on Ethiopian women and maternal healthcare and the legacy she has left behind:  her care and compassion for women with devastating childbirth injuries and the Hamlin Model of Care, Catherine’s holistic approach to treating women physically, emotionally and psychologically.

A special memorial service and candle lighting ceremony took place in the early part of the day, followed by tributes from local dignitaries.

A specially commissioned new tribute song to Catherine was performed by the Addis Ababa University Cultural Group. Later, a delicious birthday cake was enjoyed by guests – Catherine always enjoyed a cup of tea and a slice of cake!

Catherine dedicated 61 of her 96 years to caring for obstetric fistula patients in Ethiopia. She recognised immediately that holistic care was the key to a woman’s full recovery, pioneering the Hamlin Model of Care which treats women physically, psychologically and emotionally.

Julie White, Executive Chair and Tesfaye Mamo, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s CEO, spoke (interview below) about how he and his team are continuing to work towards Catherine’s vision of eradicating fistula, forever

Catherine and her team established six fistula hospitals, over 90 Hamlin-supported midwifery clinics, a rehabilitation and reintegration centre and the Hamlin College of Midwives.

Over the last 65 years, over 70,000 women with devastating childbirth injuries have had their health and dignity restored.

This is Catherine’s legacy

To her, every woman mattered – and deserved love, care, respect and support to heal and live with dignity and independence. 

“We give every woman our love, care and expertise to help them get better and back to a normal life.” – Dr Catherine Hamlin AC

Catherine’s work continues

The impact of Catherine’s work continues to be felt across the globe; her dedication and selflessness motivates many to strive for greater kindness and she opened the world’s eyes to the plight of women suffering from obstetric fistula.

Today, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is a healthcare network of over 550 Ethiopian staff who diligently continue Catherine’s work every day. They are making great strides towards achieving Catherine’s vision of eradicating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia.

Catherine remains an inspiration to everyone who continues to work together towards a fistula-free Ethiopia.

Read more about Catherine here.

To celebrate the life of one of the world’s most inspirational humanitarians, please consider making a donation today. 

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