Freedom From Fistula | obstetric fistula caused by obstructed childbirth

Patient Stories: Hawanatu


Seventeen-year-old Hawanatu joined the “Dream Girls” Program in 2019 after falling pregnant while attending junior primary school.

Hawanatu’s parents kicked her out of the house early on in her pregnancy as their religious and cultural beliefs do not permit pregnancy outside of wedlock or whilst going to school. She was deeply saddened and frustrated by this and ended up staying with a friend in Goderich, who is also a beneficiary of the Dream Girls Program.

When the Aberdeen Women’s Centre’s (AWC) maternity team went on a community booking to Goderich, as a priority case (due to being a teenager) Hawanatu was told to visit the clinic two days later.

Upon coming to AWC’s antenatal clinic, Hawanatu was approached by AWC Program staff to join the Dream Girls Program, which offers practical and emotional support to teenage pregnant mothers in need. Hawanatu explained she had already heard about the Dream Girls program, as her friend she lives with is part of it. Hawanatu agreed to attend the Dream Girls classes every Wednesday with other pregnant young women, and learn about sexual and reproductive health, how to sew and tailor clothes, and how to process trauma.

After giving birth to her son Mohammed, Hawanatu was offered the opportunity to join AWC’s Vocational Training “Hostel Girls” Program where she would learn baking and cooking skills, serving, hygiene management, and housekeeping skills. She felt happy and grateful to be apart of AWC’s Dream Girls class and she was determined to make the most of the opportunities given to her by AWC.

In addition to the industry training she received, Hawanatu also received counseling from AWC’s on-site Counselor and Social Worker, who diagnosed her with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and helped her implement coping mechanisms.

Hawanatu’s favorite part about being a part of the Dream Girl and Hostel Girls Programs is the confidence she has been able to build and how much she has been able to learn. She is also appreciative of the encouragement she has gotten from the Hostel staff, the Counselor (Amy Kombe), and the Programs Assistant (Mariama Samcodeen).

“Thanks to the staff at AWC, donors, and sponsors of the Dream Girls program”