Freedom from Fistula Foundation

Freedom from Fistula Foundation - The Ann Gloag initiative

Freedom from Fistula Ambulance

This is one of two ambulances delivered to the Fistula Foundation in Malawi and paid for by Rotary. The vehicles display the sponsorship of Rotary International but with a specific reference to the Rotary Club of Currie Balerno. Why? Here’s the story.


In 2010 Dame Ann Gloag, co-founder of the Stagecoach company, set up the Fistula Foundation, a Scottish Charity to help women initially in Malawi and then Sierra Leone suffering from obstetric fistula. In 2012 she sought the co-operation of Rotary Clubs across Scotland in this venture. Rotary agreed immediately and President Bill Strang offered the services of Currie Balerno to lead the Rotary response.


An estimated two million women in Africa are suffering from obstetric fistula, caused by prolonged obstructed childbirth and lack of access to maternity care. The effect is devastating and often condemns them to a life of solitude and despair. The charity’s aim is to help these women by providing free surgeries and free maternity care to ensure safe childbirth and by training local healthcare workers. All administrative costs are met by the Gloag Foundation.


A major problem faced by the Fistula Foundation in Malawi was the lack of local medical and transport facilities and Rotary was asked to help in providing robust off-road vehicles which could be converted into ambulances in order to reach patients in the most remote areas. Rotary responded to this by raising funds across Scotland and by supplementing this with a Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation, negotiated by the Rotary Club of Currie Balerno, and notably by Past Club President/ Past District Governor Allan Maclaughlan, together with the Rotary Club of Limbe in Malawi.


These funds enabled the purchase of two new Toyota Land Cruisers fitted out as ambulances. The team in Malawi were said to be ecstatic; and the name of the Rotary Club of Currie Balerno will always be remembered there – or at least for as long as the two ambulances keep going!

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