Professor Jennifer Satterlee
Humanities 121 Women in Arts, Culture, and Societies
August 6, 2013
How Others Help: Organizations from Half the Sky
Today, we often are bombarded with upsetting stories of violence and politics happening throughout the world on the internet, our daily televised news stations, the radio, and in newspapers and articles that we read. In the book Half the Sky, written by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, true stories regarding the horrific reality young girls and women are faced with in underprivileged countries across the world are brought to its reader’s attention. Although these stories are not the easiest to read, emotionally, what is inspiring is the work of organizations dedicated to helping these young girls and women. The book includes a number of organizations focused in aiding females in these parts of the world. There were two specific organizations that stood out to me while reading Half the Sky, as their mission has been successful in providing medical care to girls and women who have endured suffering related to sexual violence and inadequate maternal care. The Edna Adan Maternity Hospital and HEAL Africa charitable organizations have taken great strides in providing the necessary services to help girls and women recover; ultimately saving their life. (Please note: According to Half the Sky, it is the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital, however, according the organizations website, (www.ednahospital.org), the name is Edna Adan University Hospital. For this essay, I will be using the name as referenced in Half the Sky.) 1. Edna Adan Maternity Hospital
The Edna Adan Maternity Hospital began construction on January 1st, 1998 and opened its doors on March 9th, 2002 in Hargeisa, Somaliland. The idea for this hospital was that of Edna Adan Ismail, who now holds the title of Director at this hospital. Edna grew up in Hargeisa, herself, and came from one of the more fortunate families in this community. Edna had a newborn brother who passed away due to being dropped on his head by a midwife. When she was eight years old, Edna was forced to follow the Somali tradition of female circumcision (cutting of the genitals). I can imagine that it is these two events early in her life that led Edna to want something different for others. As it was not a ritual for girls to attend school in Hargeisa, Edna was fortunate to be able to attend a primary school in Djibonti, but once she approached her teenage years, she was sent back home to work as interpreter to a British doctor. Here, Edna learned a lot and eventually became a part of the World Health Organization. Upon retiring from the World Health Organization, Edna pursued her passion to open a hospital in Hargeisa. As quoted from the organizations website, “The Edna Adan University Hospital is situated in Hargeisa, Republic of Somaliland. The hospital is a non-profit charity that was built by Edna Adan Ismail who donated her UN pension and other personal assets to build the hospital in order to address the grave health problems that endanger the lives of women and children in the Horn of Africa.”(EdnaHospital.org). With the help of a group of people eager to help from the United States, Friends of Edna’s Hospital, additional donations were received and the hospital was completed. As explained in the text of Half the Sky, numerous organizations pull together to gather the supplies needed to keep the hospital functioning. These include, but are not limited to: UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Refugee Agency. (Kristof and WuDunn, Half the Sky.) The hospital focuses to help women in the community receive adequate health care, especially maternal care. This story of a woman in labor from Half the Sky helps put into perspective the mentality of female importance during birth in Hargeisa: “Once a man drove through the hospital’s front gate with his wife in labor in the backseat. The...
Cited: "Edna Adan University Hospital, Somaliland, East Africa." Edna Adan University Hospital, Somaliland, East Africa. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Aug. 2013. <http://www.ednahospital.org/>.
"HEAL Africa | Providing care for the people of DR Congo." HEAL Africa | Providing care for the people of DR Congo. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Aug. 2013. <http://www.healafrica.org/>.
Kristof, Nicholas D., and Sheryl WuDunn. Half the sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide. New York: Vintage Books, 2009. Print.
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