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Oct. 1, 2008

Smith College to Show Powerful Film about Women Devastated by Childbirth Injuries

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Later this month, Smith College will present the award-winning feature-length documentary “A Walk to Beautiful” that chronicles the experiences of five Ethiopian women whose lives are inexorably altered by devastating injuries sustained during childbirth.

The film will air at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, in Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall, and is free and open to the public.

“A Walk to Beautiful” was produced by Engel Entertainment, with the assistance of Smith alumna Helen D. “Heidi” Reavis ‘81, whose husband, Steven Engel, served as executive producer.

The film tells the story of Ayehu, Almaz, Zewdie, Yenenesh and Wubete, five women who suffered through prolonged, unrelieved obstructed labor. Although they survived the often-fatal childbirth experience, they were rendered incontinent. In most cases, this is a result of an obstetric fistula -- a hole in the birth canal.

Rejected by their husbands and ostracized by their communities, the women made a long and arduous journey to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in search of a cure, an emotional journey captured by the film.

The World Health Organization has called fistula “the single most dramatic aftermath of neglected childbirth,” estimating that more than 2 million women live with fistula worldwide. The Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia alone has treated more than 32,000 women.

"A Walk to Beautiful" has won numerous awards, including the 2007 Best Feature Documentary by the International Documentary Association and People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary at the Starz Denver Film Festival in 2007. The event is sponsored by the Office of President Carol T. Christ.

For disability access information or to request accommodations, call (413) 585-2407. To request a sign language interpreter specifically, call (413) 585-2071 (voice or TTY) or e-mail All requests must be made at least 10 days prior to the event.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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