BATHURST woman Robyn Kreymborg only needs an internet connection to change the lives of women in Ethiopia.
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Ms Kreymborg is a regular shopper at the Hamlin Store, which sells handmade items from Africa to support the work of the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation.
Founded 60 years ago by Australian surgeons Catherine and Reg Hamlin, the foundation provides treatment to those who have suffered an obstetric fistula, an internal injury caused by an obstructed labour during childbirth.
Ms Kreymborg, a mother of one, says the foundation's work resonates with her because she had a difficult birth experience.
It just resonated with me - the terrible plight these poor women have.
"I required medical intervention during my labour, and had I not had it, I might not be here today," she said.
"To think there are hundreds of thousands of women in Ethiopia who don't have the same access to medical services is really sad."
While Ms Kreymborg says she recognises the drought is having an impact in rural and regional areas, she says people are still buying gifts, so encourages others to purchase from the Hamlin Store when they can.
"It's really unique to be able to give a gift that makes a difference. And you don't always have to buy a physical gift," she said.
"I've purchased a fistula operation for an Ethiopian woman through Hamlin. I don't think many people realise they can do this."
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She said she was introduced to the work of the foundation about 10 years ago while living in Sydney.
"It was at a lunch at my son's school which was hosted by [international service organisation] Zonta and they featured the work of the Hamlins," she said.
"It just resonated with me - the terrible plight these poor Ethiopian women have and the work the Hamlins have done to support them."
Artisans across Africa make Hamlin's products, which range from homewares, fashion accessories, jewellery, books, baby wraps and toys to spices, coffee and kitchen accessories.
Purchases help provide income and employment to the artisans and the profits are used to fund fistula treatment for Ethiopian women.
Ms Kreymborg uses her purchases from the Hamlin Store as gifts.
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