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Elisabeth-Norgall-Awardee 2012
Orla Klippe

"Restoring dignity of women"

"Shelter Gambia" was established in 2006 as a refuge for women by the German nurse Orla Klippe. Orla learned about the crucial need for medical aftercare for VVF (Vescio Vascular Fistula) patients during her service on one of the mobile hospital ships "Mercy Ships" off the coast of Western Africa. Realising the lack of support for those women in Gambia, she decided to launch a care centre, taking full responsibility without any external funding in the early days. The shelter is now permanently settled on a plot of land provided by the city of Bakoteh and could be inaugurated in June 2008.

"Shelter Gambia" is caring for women in need of essential treatment following a VVF operation. Women and especially very young girls frequently suffer injuries during a prolonged labour and difficult birth leading to fistulas and severe physical limitations. These women are ostracised by society and abandoned by their husbands. Orla Klippe provides treatment, nutrition and a safe place where the women are allowed to fully recover - and pick up new skills to become financially independent should their husbands not want to take them back. Moreover, Orla is organising workshops to provide basic health education, to discuss specific childbirth-related problems and to spread the word that there is help available for VVF patients.

Orla Klippe lives among "her" African women sharing their local lifestyle. She left her family, friends and comfortable life in Germany to devote all her time and money to her project. So far she has not received any noteworthy donations and runs the shelter spending her own retirement pension and with only little financial help arriving on the donation account. Can you imagine how welcome our donation will be and what a difference it will make?

Look forward to meeting Orla Klippe in person at the Norgall award ceremony which will be framed by enchanting African music.

Norgall Committee
Christa Gessner (Chairperson) Helene Gressenbauer-Rösner, Tiina Huber, Ivonne Rochau-Balinge, Anneliese Schmidt, Regine Schumann

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