“We are midwives!”
This was the proud concluding statement of a speech by Tizita, the Student Representative of the Hamlin College of Midwives 2017 graduating class.
Despite it being the rainy season in Ethiopia, the rain stayed away long enough for everyone to enjoy this important graduation ceremony, the 7th since the college opened in 2007.
In 2014, these 20 young, eager, high school graduates entered Hamlin College of Midwives for the first time.
After a rigorous four-year Bachelor of Science in Midwifery Degree, on the 15th of July this year, they emerged as proud, fully-fledged midwives.
Attended by Hamlin representatives from across the globe, the graduation was a proud day for all. Dr Catherine Hamlin herself was in attendance, much to the pleasure of audience members as well as the graduates themselves.
Accompanied by her long-time colleague and faithful companion, Mamitu, Catherine proudly took an active role in the ceremony proceedings.
Little could she have imagined, nearly 60 years ago, the impact that she and her late husband, Reg, would have on the people of Ethiopia.
The heart and soul of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and the Hamlin College of Midwives, Catherine was acknowledged for her dedication to maternal healthcare in Ethiopia.
“We, the graduating class, would like to assure you that we are now courageously ready to join the battle field [to] prevent fistula… our icon and source of inspiration remains to be Dr. Catherine Hamlin.
[Catherine] came [here] almost 60 years ago, with her late dear husband, Dr. Reginald Hamlin and their son Richard, to provide obstetric and gynaecological services and train midwives, for three years to start with. But fate pulled them back in Ethiopia, women[‘s] misery pulled them back, obstetric fistula pulled them back.” – Tizita
Dr Hamlin’s speech
Catherine herself addressed the new cohort. Her ongoing commitment to the training of midwives to serve their own local and regional communities was evident to all.
“We are all so happy that you have chosen this profession… one of the most important in the world – bringing babies safely into this world!
You will mostly all be in the countryside, where you will hopefully feel at home. Perhaps even where you grew up! So it will be familiar to you and somewhere you will be glad to return to now – delivering pregnant women & girls safely in your own area.
If you love your work, you will put your mind and hearts into it. So it will not be a burden, but a joy as you witness and help a new baby to be born and join this world’s population.
I hope you will always enjoy such a challenge and find satisfaction in what you are able to do – to comfort and help every laboring woman and to show that you love them.
Don’t ever think of your work as a hardship. I hope it will always be a joy – happy that you have witnessed and helped another new citizen into this world!” – Dr Catherine Hamlin
Most of all, Catherine gave the young midwives advice on how to embrace their new roles with love and enthusiasm…
“The main thing I hope you will have learnt from your training here and from our hospitals is to love.
We shall miss you in our hospital and training centre and college – hopefully you will leave with all your teaching firmly in your minds!
I send you my very best wishes and my love, hoping that you will be happy and contented in all your undertakings.” – Dr Catherine Hamlin
As well as their love for Catherine, the graduates also spoke of their love for their families.
“… our sincere and loving gratitude go to our parents and guardians who have been caring, rearing and educating us tirelessly – Mum and Dad and other relatives – your efforts have fruits now. We are somebody. We are health professionals. We are midwives!” – Tizita
Hamlin midwives – saving lives and preventing fistula
Our new Hamlin midwives are to be deployed to health centres across the country. The services provided by Hamlin midwives in these centres ensure that vulnerable women have access to trained midwives during pregnancy and delivery, thus ensuring the ongoing prevention of this most horrific childbirth injury – obstetric fistula.
Thank YOU for your support
Our graduates also had a message to those of you around the world who have generously supported their education, and in so doing have supported the prevention of fistula.
“Our thanks lovingly go to the donor community that supported our splendid training – We won’t fail you! We are midwives!” – Tizita
Read more about Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s prevention work here.
To support students studying at the Hamlin College of Midwives, please consider making a tax deductible donation today.