By: Zakiyyah Ibrahim
“Why Toyin body don't embody all the life she wanted?
A baby, just nineteen”
The above lyrics from Song 33 by artist Noname, captures the feelings of hurt, anger and confusion I have felt since I read that her body was found, on June 15th 2020. Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau was one of thousands of black women in America who suffered a horrible death that could have been prevented if black women’s lives were valued.
On Sunday March 8th, in recognition of International Women’s Day, the Wolfville and District Lions Club hosted a luncheon in support of our project to fund fistula repair surgery in Ghana. Our founder, Habiba was the guest speaker and addressed an audience of Lions Club members and Wolfville residents about her work as an end fistula advocate in addition to the current initiative being led by WHOI.
On November 22nd 2019, WHOI held its first art auction fundraiser in support of fistula patients living in Ghana. The art auction is part of our current initiative to cover the cost of repair surgery for fistula patients in Ghana. We were honoured to have the Honourable Dr. Mayann Francis O.N.S., former Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia host this event alongside our founder, Habiba Cooper Diallo. We are now halfway to our fundraising goal of $10 000.
By: Selam Abdella
On October 12, 2019, I had the privilege of representing the Women’s Health Organization International as the Keynote Speaker at Girls Inspire Girls Summit by Network for the Empowerment of Women.
Over three weeks in December, members from our board were in Ghana to foster partnerships with organizations working to end fistula.
By: Selam Abdella
The Girls of Meru premiered on September 16th 2018 at the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival. In this film, Andrea Dorfman, director of the Emmy nominated film Flawed, shifts her lens to document the Equality Effect’s campaign on the 160 Girls Project— a legal initiative that aimed to achieve justice and protect against rape for girls in Kenya. This is issue amplified by barriers such as the lack of representation in international organizations and the deeply ingrained sense of outsiders’ hopelessness about Africa.
On the 23rd of February 2018, WHOI, held a live show called Anarcha’s Legacy as part of Black History Month. The purpose of the event was to draw to attention to obstetric fistula, by honouring and telling the story of Anarcha, an enslaved black woman from the 19th century who was forced to endure medical experiments by a surgeon named Dr. Marion Sims who endeavoured to perfect a surgical technique used to treat obstetric fistula.
updates from popular culture: weinstein, trump and violence against women (international day for the elimination of violence against women)
Last week on December 9th 2017, as part of the United Nations 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, WHOI collaborated with the Global Health Office, Dalhousie University, to put on a panel discussion about violence against women. The annual 16 Days campaign kicked off on November 25th—the International Day to End Violence Against Women and ran until December 10th, Human Rights Day. Dalhousie's 16 Days campaign theme for this year was: SOLIDARITY NOT SILENCE. Speakers included WHOI founder, Habiba Cooper Diallo, Bintou Kaira, Yolanda Roberts, and Zaahirah Qazi. Each speaker addressed a different aspect of violence against women such as: the rapes of women on their way to or from work in the early hours of the morning, the sexualization and extreme degradation of women in music videos like Blurred Lines, and the dismissal of black women's claims of sexual violence.
An innovative young adult ficitonal book about fistula which follows the protagonist, Yeshialem, on an epic journey across the Sahara as she learns more about the condition.