IT ALL started with a single teacher’s idea and grew into an intense dedication to help women they had never met in a country they had never seen.
And now the Fistula Dinner Organising Committee can say, after months of planning, juggling and stress, they have made a few women’s child births that little bit more comfortable.
Obstetric fistula is a problem in the world’s poorest countries where women give birth without medical help.
It can lead to prolonged and extremely painful labour and horrific consequences for the mothers, who often lose their babies and sufferincontinence.
Some women become socially alienated and excluded by their own communities.
After a suggestion from their teacher, Vicki Evans, five Year 12 students from Trinity Catholic College in Lismore joined forces with three female students from St John’s College Woodlawn to host a dinner to raise money for the International Fistula Foundation, which supports a hospital and midwifery program in Ethiopia.
In between studying for their HSC and other volunteering commitments, the girls met weekly to organise the community charity event.
This month, the group saw the fruits of their labour at the fistula charity dinner held at the House With No Steps at Alstonville, which raised $6000 for the cause.
They also took out the groups section of the Young People Supporting Diverse Youth Award at the Kids in Community Awards in Lismore this week.
“We are trying to make it a bi-annual thing,” 18-year-old Alice Dwyer said.
“It was difficult at times to try to co-ordinate between the two schools and balancing our studies.”
Olivia Salvatori said that through having a common goal the girlsbecame great friends.
While they may be a few years off motherhood, the girls realise how lucky they are that when the day does come they are almost guaranteed a problem-free, medicallyassisted birth.
“We can connect with the women because we could never imagine our lives being like that,” Olivia, 17, said.
“I was shocked to see the things they go through. There was a documentary that we passed on between us and that was very confronting.”
With the end of their school years fast approaching, most of the girls have plans to continue their charitable ways.
Alice is travelling to Guatemala next year to volunteer at an orphanage for three months, Miesha Don-eellan is off to university where she hopes to continue volunteering and Olivia plans to travel.
As part of their Kids in Community award, the group received a $250 cheque, certificates of recognition and enough chocolate and flowers to satisfy each group member.