Student to raise money for Congolese women suffering from childbirth injuries

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Emel GivenA PhD student at the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) is aiming to fund 70 operations for women in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) suffering from childbirth injuries by participating in the Galveston ‘Ironman 70.3’.

This event, which takes place on 7 April, will entail a gruelling 70 miles of swimming, running and cycling but for Emel Given the end result will be more than just her competition time or finishing position.

‘For me, it’s all about raising awareness and funds for a non-profit organisation named SOLFA,’ she said. ‘Based in Belgium, SOLFA – Solidarity with African Women – works to raise awareness and prevent, as well as repair, obstetric fistulas, one of the most serious childbirth injuries and a consequence of a woman’s lack of access to emergency obstetric care.’

Emel, whose research focusses on sexual and reproductive healthcare in DRC, Burundi and Sierra Leone, continued: ‘For many women in a lot of places the lack of advanced medical care is a very real concern. Obstetric fistulas are something we don’t hear much about in the US and Europe anymore because of our improved access to obstetric care, but approximately two million women and girls in other parts of the world continue to face this serious health and social issue.’

Prior to her PhD, Emel studied for an MA in International Conflict and Security at BSIS specifically focussing on HIV/AIDS in Burundi.

Alastair Ross, Head of Administration at BSIS, said: ‘This is an admirable initiative by Emel and we wish her every success.

‘We have research being undertaken here at BSIS around areas of gender and conflict and also run MA programmes in International Development and Conflict and Security, and are therefore delighted to able to support this project through sponsorship.’

She can be sponsored at:

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