A HELPING ETHIOPIAN
Maureen Burnett from Rutherglen
There is a room in Maureen Burnett’s Burnside home filled with shopping bags and items.
Each of them will, directly or indirectly, go towards helping a poverty-stricken region in Ethiopia.
For the past several years Maureen, 71, has been involved with the Ethopia Medical Project, raising funds for a clinic in the area of Buccama.
The Reformer has previously reported on the work of Maureen and her cousin, Jo Middlemiss, but recently their efforts took another step forward, as they earned enough money to start construction on a new wing of the clinic, at a cost of £43,000.
Maureen said: “The government had said they would be closed down. They’d been trying anywhere for help and getting turned down.
“They came to us and asked if we could do anything – we thought we would do what we could, and we’ve managed to raise enough for them.
“It wasn’t an enormous amount to build this place – with 40 beds, a septic tank and room for men and women.
“There were no outside contractors either, it was just locals building everything. This is something that’s for them.”
Maureen first visited the African country in 2011, as part of an educational project she was helping.
When there, she found a small clinic that was trying to help women suffering from prolapse following childbirth.
While the problem can be easily rectified in Western Europe, in Ethiopia it’s a condition that can bring shame on the women, leading to them being shunned by their families and husbands.
Maureen was driven to help, and over the past five years has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the clinic, aided by her cousin.
They’ve held parties, auctions and events to earn money for it, while they spend a month in the country every year, helping at the clinic, which is run by nuns.
Jo, who is from Kinross, added: “These women have lived with shame and rejection, and they’re just so grateful for any help.
“We get far more from it from what we learn rather than anything else. We have so much choice in our lives and they have nothing to chose from.
“There was one old woman who stood up last time and said ‘You have seen our shame and you haven’t been ashamed of us’.
“That was an extraordinary thing
Doing her bit Maureen Burnett from Burnside has helped keep a vital clinic going in the African country of Ethiopia
Helping hand Maureen (left) and her cousin Jo Middlemiss helping to build a new medical facility in Ethopia