Kupona Foundation and Partners celebrate the opening of Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula

On Wednesday, May 25th, Kupona welcomed partners and supporters to an intimate reception and private viewing of our Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula exhibition at the NYU Kimmel Center. We were joined by clinicians, philanthropists, advocates, lawyers, business leaders, artists and students, all united under one cause: a commitment to the empowerment of women and girls.

Kupona volunteers, staff, Advisory Board members and friends.

Artist Jac Saorsa speaking with guests.

Celebrating resilience, courage, and unadulterated beauty

The focus of the evening was a celebration of the resilience, courage and unadulterated beauty of the women who inspired Jac Saorsa’s collection of artwork. All treated at our sister organization in Tanzania, every woman featured has her own story of survival. On Wednesday evening, guests heard the story of Lidya. The trauma and grief that Lidya experienced during the delivery of her children is beyond what many of us can imagine. Despite losing her 2-day-old newborn, raising a child with a disability caused by birth complications, and developing a devastating fistula twice, Lidya refused to be broken by fistula. She says, “my experience of living with fistula has made me the successful businesswoman I am today.”

Joining together to end fistula within a generation

Addressing the room, Kupona’s Executive Director, Abbey Kocan, thanked sponsors Johnson & Johnson, Fistula Foundation, New York University’s Kimmel Center and College of Global Public Health, and the UNFPA-led Campaign to End Fistula. Dr. John Brothers, President of Kupona’s Board of Directors, highlighted the opportunity to empower entire communities by creating new beginnings for women living with and recovering from obstetric fistula. Following remarks from Darcy Allen, representing the UNFPA-led Campaign to End Fistula, and Kim Keller of Johnson & Johnson, attendees renewed their commitment to the UN Secretary General’s pledge to end fistula within a generation.

Abbey Kocan addresses guests.

Kupona was also delighted to welcome Katia Geurts, the Director of The Mabinti Center, CCBRT’s socio-economic empowerment program for women recovering from obstetric fistula. Items hand crafted by graduates from the training program were available for sale. Guests also showed their support through the purchase of artwork, exhibition catalogs, and donations.

Katia Geurts, Director of The Mabinti Centre offered items for sale made by women recovering from treatment to correct their obstetric fistulas.

This is just the beginning…

This reception was just the beginning of a celebration of women living with and recovering from obstetric fistula, and the programs and partnerships working to end this debilitating condition within a generation.

The exhibition is open to the public, free of charge, until December 31st. Artwork and exhibition catalogs will be available for sale for the duration. If you are interested in making a purchase, please contact Alexandra Cairns.

Visit www.resilience.gallery for a preview.