A community of women in Newcastle, New South Wales have joined forces to support women in need in Ethiopia. Through a gold coin donation at their weekly community yoga sessions, the Merewether Community Stretch Yoga group has raised close to $10,000 for Hamlin patients suffering from obstetric fistula!
Getting active as a community
Founded in 2014, the Merewether Community Stretch Yoga group initially held sessions at the Merewether Holy Family Public School. Today, the group boasts over 50 members. The yoga group welcomes people of all abilities and there is no pressure for members to attend each session. After a pandemic-induced hiatus, the group has returned to their weekly sessions in a COVID-safe manner outdoors, on the local oval.
One of the joys of the initiative is the close connection that many participants have formed. Post-session, many members often head to the nearby Surf House for coffee or to the Merewether Ocean Baths for a few laps to cool down.
A little goes a long way
The group unanimously decided to support the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation with a gold coin donation entry fee for each session. Aside from weekly yoga fundraisers, the Merewether Community Stretch Yoga group has also held a Hamlin Lunch and two Hamlin High Teas to raise funds for fistula patients. In the seven years since their inception, the group has raised close to $10,000 to support women in need in Ethiopia! $10,000 can fund ten standard fistula repair surgeries; a nightgown, dress and slippers for 15 patients and provide 50 women with handicrafts training.
The group was instigated by Fran and Marie as an opportunity to raise awareness about the need to eradicate fistula from Ethiopia. It is now co-instructed by Marie and Gail. Marie travelled to Ethiopia in 2019 as part of the Hamlin Ethiopian Adventure and witnessed first-hand the life-changing work of Hamlin staff at Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. Marie and Gail often share updates on Hamlin activities and patient stories, as well as sharing general news from the neighbourhood and keeping the community connected.
By banding together and fostering a joyful community, the Merewether Community Stretch Yoga Group has been able to make a positive difference in the lives of its members and support women in need in Ethiopia. Their support, over many years has fundamentally changed the lives of women in Ethiopia. Thank you Merewether Community Stretch Yoga group!
Click here to learn how your community or workplace can join together to support fistula patients.
Photo credit: Andrew Monger, ajmphoto.com.au