In 2018, I made a film documentary called Angels
, exploring the problem of infertility in Senegal, West Africa.
During filming I met Ndim, 35, married for 12 years with no children. Ndim has fibroids - fibrous growths in her womb which are likely the reason why she cannot get pregnant. She works as a housekeeper, and on her meagre wages cannot afford to have the simple operation to remove the fibroids, which would give her a chance at having a baby.
In 2016, Ndim's husband Badera, a tailor, took a second wife, because of social pressure and gossip - just to prove he could have a child. He told me that he loves Ndim deeply. Taking a second wife was purely 'vengeance' on local gossips.
The couple's story is heartbreaking, and profoundly touched me and my film crew. In Senegal, women without children are stigmatised and rejected from society. Children are a gift anywhere, particularly in Africa where, to a great extent, your children define your role as a woman and a wife, and look after you when you're elderly.
Ndim is too proud to ask for help, but we would like to raise enough money for her to have the fibroids operation (approx £1500). Ideally, we would also like her to have a round of IVF with the brilliant Dakar-based fertility doctor in our documentary, Dr Rokhaya Ba. We've set the bar high, but if we can just raise the money to help Ndim remove her fibroids, that would be brilliant.
Imagine if we could raise enough funds and Ndim ended up with a baby!
When I asked Ndim what she would feel if she finally had the baby she longs for, she said: "I've waited so long, a child would be like a diamond to me."
You can listen to Ndim's story here on BBC Radio 4's programme, From Our Own Correspondent. You'll find the piece at 11.36 minutes in: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000qnr
. You can also read about her in this month's Geographical magazine.
Do watch the film here
and read the articles about Ndim's story via the links. Let's help Ndim have her diamond baby!