A HELP­ING ETHIOPIAN

Mau­reen Burnett from Ruther­glen

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Jonathan Ged­des

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

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