Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of designing a truly touching custom Gift of Seeds for the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation.
Over 60 years ago Catherine Hamlin and her partner Reg embarked on an unexpected journey of a lifetime. They signed a three-year contract to work as obstetrician-gynaecologists and set up a midwifery school in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. On arrival, Catherine and Reg were confronted by the heartbreaking reality that there was little or no treatment available in Ethiopia for obstetric fistula – an internal injury caused by an obstructed labour that leaves a woman incontinent, humiliated and isolated.
In their first three years in Ethiopia, Reg and Catherine operated on 300 fistula patients. It wasn’t long before news of a cure spread, and more patients came seeking treatment. Upon completing their three-year posting Catherine and Reg chose to stay in Ethiopia to continue treating women suffering obstetric fistula. To cater for the demand, they began fundraising and opened the now, world-renowned Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in 1974.
Catherine Hamlin not only transformed maternal care in Ethiopia but around the world pioneering what is now noted among medical professionals globally as the world’s best-practice preoperative and postoperative fistula treatment. The Hamlin Model of Care combines clinical excellence with Catherine’s vision of treating every woman with compassion and dignity. Surgeons from around the globe visit and train at Hamlin’s hospitals to learn this acclaimed, world-best treatment.
Sadly, on 18 March 2020 Dr Catherine Hamlin passed away but she left an unforgettable legacy, one that will continue to treat patients and save lives. Under Dr Catherine Hamlin’s pioneering guidance, over 60,000 Ethiopian women with fistula injury were treated. Catherine was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and received numerous international awards and acknowledgements for her dedication and pioneering work.
It is estimated up to 31,000 Ethiopian women still live with an untreated fistula injury and new cases continue to occur. The Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation and Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital will continue to work towards eradicating fistula until every woman in Ethiopia is assured a safe and healthy delivery.
A special Gift of Seeds
Catherine’s journey was one of passion, determination, and selflessness. She worked tirelessly for decades to improve maternal health care across Ethiopia and to give women love, hope and the opportunity to regain their lives.
Dr Catherine Hamlin loved her garden at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. The hospital garden is a tranquil space where obstetric fistula patients can sit in the sunshine, convalesce and socialise with one another.
Catherine Hamlin Foundation chose Everlasting Daisy and Forget-Me-Not flower seeds to include in their beautiful custom designed Gift of Seeds. Both Gifts of Seeds are available for purchase in the Hamlin shop. They were also given to guests that attended the recent Celebrating Catherine Dinner.
We are truly touched to work with such a wonderful charity and create a Gift of Seeds in honour of the belated Catherine Hamlin and her truly remarkable work.