Mary (not her real name) is 21 years old. Both her parents died with HIV-related illnesses when she was very young. Mary also has HIV, which she got from her mother.

After Mary’s parents died, her grandfather cared for her. But he died in 2021, when Mary was only 18. She then lived with her aunt.

Mary’s aunt’s family stigmatised her cruelly. She did not allow Mary to use other people’s utensils and isolated Mary her own room. Other family members were scared that she could infect them. Mary was so lonely, and had nobody to talk to (she was crying as she told us this).

In 2022, Mary decided to get married, because she could no longer tolerate her desperately tragic homelife. She became pregnant in January 2023. When it was time to deliver her baby, Mary had severe labour pains. She went to a District Hospital, where she was in labour for five days.

On the sixth day, Mary was told that she needed to have a Caesarean Section. A few hours later, Mary’s baby was born. He could not cry. After a few hours, Mary was told that her new baby son had died.

Mary’s husband visited her in hospital for a few days, but he disappeared on her fourth day in hospital. Nobody knows where he is.

A few days after giving birth, Mary started to leak urine. Her doctor told her that she had a fistula, and asked her for TZS 900,000 (around USD 355, GBP 280, AUD 545, CAD 480, EUR 330) for surgery. Of course, Mary could not afford anything. She went to see her stepbrother, who agreed that she could stay with him.

Maternity Africa’s fistula outreach team recently found Mary where they were working in the rural area where she lives. The team spoke with her, screened her, and arranged for her transport to Kivulini Maternity Centre. Our teams repaired her fistula, totally free of charge (thanks to the kindness of our generous funders, Maternity Africa provides ALL of its services, free of charge, so that women like Mary can receive the care that they so desperately need).

As you can see from the photograph, at her stepbrother’s home Mary sleeps in a dark place, on the floor, on a mattress made from grass. She often goes without food, because her stepbrother does not have any income.

We want to help Mary by buying a bed and mattress. She is also interested in setting up and running a small shop in her home so that she can support herself better financially when she leaves our hospital.

We would love to raise TZS 600,000 (USD 240, GBP 180, AUD 365, CAD 320, EUR 220) to buy Mary a new bed and mattress. We would also like to raise around TZS 1,000,000 (USD 395, GBP 310, AUD 605, CAD 533, EUR 265) to help her with some start-up capital so that she can set up and stock a simple shop.

Please follow this link to help us to help Mary, and other destitute women like Mary. Thank you.