Now that she has had life-saving reproductive care, Rahama helps other women get access to the treatment and support they need.

When Rahama was in junior secondary school, she had ambitions of becoming a nurse. But when she was just 13 years old, her father pulled her out of school to be married. She became pregnant shortly after her wedding, and was not allowed outside of her home for prenatal care.

After two days of difficult labor, she gave birth to a stillborn baby. She also developed obstetric fistula, a condition that often leads to chronic medical problems and social isolation.

Ostracized from her community, she ran away from home. Shortly after, a volunteer heard her story and took her to the Fistula Foundation Nigeria Medical Center. This center was set up with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and provides care to thousands of Nigerian women suffering from fistula each year.

Following her successful surgery and recovery, Rahama was enrolled in a UNFPA-led vocational skills training program. There, she learned the skills to become a seamstress, and upon graduation, was given a sewing machine to begin her career.

“My life has completely changed! I earn a living as a seamstress and help the women of my community.”

Empowered to earn a living and achieve economic independence, Rahama turned her focus toward helping others in her community living with fistula. She was hired as a community educator by the Fistula Foundation Nigeria, and uses the knowledge she has gained to aid other women and girls in seeking treatment.

UNFPA is a UNFCU Foundation grantee, sponsored to support women and girls affected by obstetric fistula.