Leader Spotlight: Debra Matityahu, MD of Beyond Fistula

Q: Where do you live?

A. Los Altos, California

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Q: Tell us about your organization.

A. We help young Kenyan women heal and rebuild their lives after severe childbirth injury known as obstetric fistula.

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Q: What is the one piece of advice you would like to share with other women looking to start an organization?

A. The need is great - it can feel overwhelming to start an organization to help people. Remember that one person can make a difference. And the change you make in the world will also change you.

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Q: How can WorldWideWomen readers get involved in what you are doing?

A. Follow our work on Facebook to learn about obstetric fistula and donate to these young women who need your generosity. They are unlucky victims of a system that undervalues them and perpetuates violence against them; your donations help lift them and break this cycle.

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Q: Who is the greatest female influence in your life?

A. Carol Mabeya, our program manager in Kenya - she is tactful, powerful, and immensely graceful through conflict. Somehow she keeps our program in Kenya running smoothly in a culture where women are expected to be submissive and are punished for going against that.

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Q: Please share with us something that you want other women around the world to hear.

A. I want other women to know that one person is so powerful. No matter your age, no matter anything, you have the power to raise awareness and change people's behavior and get people to help you solve a problem. We are all sisters, all of us women around the world, and we hold the power to help one another rise.

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Q: What do you feel is your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is the privilege of helping these women in Kenya. I have learned so much from their strength, and to know that they look to me with trust, and for help, when so many of them have been abused is very, very moving.

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Connect with Debra and Beyond Fistula through their Facebook page!

Donate to help bus 500 girls to the Girls' Festival!