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Using fashion gala to help fistula victims

The Italian Embassy Kampala will this Friday join fashion enthusiasts in hosting the third edition of a fashion show contest designed to shine a bright spotlight on emerging talent.

The ‘Evolution Fashion Show for Young Talents 2019’ is scheduled to take place in Sheraton Kampala Hotel’s Rwenzori Ballroom.

Staged in conjunction with the Cultural Association of Italians in Uganda (CAIU), over 20 Ugandan designers will showcase at least three of their best designs. And the best, selected by an independent jury, will fly to Rome for a three week internship in the fashion studio Lady Bee.

Proceeds from this event will go to a charity, ‘The Women at Work International’ (WAWI), whose target this year is to contribute towards the fight against fistula in women. Many women around the country suffer from this terrible condition, according to the Italian Ambassador Domenico Fornara.

“My wife Anna (Muscetta) has been pivotal in making me aware of this problem. So, I felt that through a positive gesture of fashion, we can all come together and fundraise, to help improve the lives of women affected by fistula around the country,” he told The Observer recently.

Halima Namakula, famous for her Kimbeewo song, a member of WAWI, says that the charity wants to treat as many women as possible, most of whom are to be found in rural areas.

Because of the stigma attached to the condition, many of these unfortunate women hide away from the society. Fistula is associated with child birth. As a child is born, sometimes it damages the mother’s bladder as it goes through the birth canal. This results in a woman so affected failing to hold their urine. It flows out uncontrollably, leaving them with a bad urine stench perpetually.

With surgery, this problem can be corrected. And although Namakula said that they cannot put a number on how many women they are targeting, the whole process will be extensive. But it will also depend on how much will be collected.

Another activist for the cause, Brenda Nanyonjo, head of the Miss Uganda Foundation said: “We are not just going to stop at treating women with fistula. But we are also going to provide reproductive health education to young girls, so that they know the dos and don’ts. We need to educate young girls against early pregnancies. Fistula affects mainly young girls, [who conceive and] go into labour, when their bodies are not mature enough to handle the process.”

Among the fashion designers expected to feature is Anita Beryl who observed in a brief interview with The Observer that the Italian Embassy cannot be thanked enough for collaborating with this venture.

Tickets to the event will go for Shs 100,000 (VIP), Shs 80,000 (second row) and Shs 50,000 (regular seats).


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