Fistula Survivor Turn into Maternal Health change Agents
Fistula Survivor Turn into Maternal Health change Agents

“My journey to healing was rough! But TERREWODE became my road to hope,” Margrete
Arago recalls.
Arago is a resident of Abarilela sub-county in Amuria district and survivor of fistula. She once wrestled with the condition and came face to face with its associated stigmatization and ostracism from her community. It eventually drove her into poverty and attempted suicide.
“When TERREWODE identified me and started treating me, I got hope. I saw light at the end of
the tunnel.” Arago recounts a substandard life filled with loneliness and humiliation to the point that she couldn’t attend village gatherings or church.


She was 30 years old when she got married and experienced four miscarriages, with the last one resulting in obstetric fistula.
She was 47 years old when she had surgerry and fully recovered.
“I was finally healed although I could not bear children anymore because of age,” she narrates with mixed emotions of happiness and desolation.
Arago is now a maternal health change agent and owns a house in her village's trading center, which she established with the proceeds from her Flourishing catering business. She got into catering after completing the transformative reintegration program at TERREWODE.


Arago is also the chairperson of the women in her clan and the Abarilela community fistula solidarity group, which she credits to TERREWODE leaders' training. After being treated and cured, fistula survivors are trained and reintegrated into communities as change instigators. This is aimed at strengthening maternal health as the survivors spread aware. For the last 15 years, TERREWODE has
abetted the formation of groups with a membership of over 1,500 active survivors who are currently fostering maternal health across the three regions of her operations in Uganda.
“I cannot imagine how my life would be without this organization. Probably I
would have died long ago because there is no way I would have been cured. To TERREWODE, I owe my life,” – Arago said.

Arago is also the chairperson of the women in her clan and the Abarilela community Fistula
solidarity group, which she credits to TERREWODE leaders' training. After being treated
and cured, fistula survivors are trained and reintegrated into communities as change
instigators. This is aimed at strengthening maternal health as the survivors spread awareness in their communities about the causes, prevention, and treatment options available for those weighed down by the Fistula. They are also armed with social entrepreneurship skills which inspire them to become self-sufficient and change agents.


“I started Fighting teenage pregnancies by sensitizing the parents and speaking against early child marriages. I am happy that I can notice a change in behavior among people.”
Arago’s undeniably strong spirit served as a fuel that led her and her group to a successful start. The Abarilela group orchestrated activities for up to 30 members. She successfully introduced savings and credit to support the income generating businesses for group members as an economic endorsement. As a result, members were saving up to Ushs 1,800,000 (about 480 US Dollars) annually before COVID -19!
The Abarilela group did not stop at that. A few talented members of this group continued to use Music, Dance, and Drama as a powerful weapon to increase knowledge and awareness among the members
of the community.


They were able to reach a large portion of Ugandans as they collaborated with renown and reputable celebrities from different regions in Uganda such as: Juliana Kanyomozi, a multiple award-winning Ugandan actress and pop musician well known among Western Uganda’s decent musicians; Halima Namakula, Ugandan musician, actress, entrepreneur and humanitarian from Central Uganda and JM Kennedy, a pop singer from the West Nile. The group’s triumph didn't stop there; they went to the extent of performing at Uganda’s oldest cultural institution, most popular to tourists around the world.
Arago’s group is among the 44 registered solidarity groups that TERREWODE has created.

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