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home Publications Success Stories Nikiema’s Story

Nikiema’s Story

The shame of leaking feces through her vagina drove Nikiema to attempt to end her life 3 times.

Nikiema married and conceived at 17-years-old. She lived in the Ivory Coast with her husband on his farm. When she went into labor, there was no one to provide medical assistance. After two days of prolonged, obstructed labor, a traditional birth attendant arrived to help. Four days after her long labor, Nikiema was still in pain and realized she was also leaking feces through her vagina. Nikiema had developed a fistula.

I could not stand anymore with people due to the constant bad smell. I started then being mistreated and humiliated by my husband and the people surrounding us. Nobody wanted to eat the food I cooked.


That was when Nikiema lost all hope and began trying to take her own life. Women with fistula are often rejected by their families and communities because of the smell. The lack of information about the injury adds to the feeling of despair.

After the third suicide attempt, Nikiema’s husband decided to send her back to her parents.

He said I was the only one responsible for the problem.


Back home in Burkina Faso, Nikiema heard about an organization called Fondation Rama that helps women and girls with obstetric fistula. Nikiema reached out and was welcomed by Fondation Rama and ARENA, WFF’s on-the-ground partners. WFF works closely with both organizations to provide life-changing surgery and holistic care to women with childbirth injuries.

Nikiema is now dry and no longer suicidal! She received free life-changing fistula surgery and was able to meet with a psychologist who helped her overcome her suicidal thoughts and actions.

Now that I am no longer leaking feces, I am more than grateful to all of you for helping me.