Healing Lives

P u b l i s h e d O c t o b e r 13 , 2 0 2 0

Two incredible women, an unlikely friendship, and a united mission to save the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most desperate women.

Healing Lives reveals the untold tale of Mamitu Gashe, the protégée of Dr Catherine Hamlin, and the inspiring decades-long friendship between the two women.
In 1962, three years after Drs Catherine and Reg Hamlin arrived in Ethiopia, an illiterate peasant girl sought their aid.
Mamitu Gashe was close to death and horrifically injured during childbirth after an arranged marriage – at the age of just fourteen to a man she’d never met – in a remote mountain village.
The Hamlins’ Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital saved her, and Mamitu would go on to dedicate her life to Catherine’s mission.
Under the iconic doctor’s guidance, Mamitu went from mopping floors and comforting her fellow patients, to becoming one of the most acclaimed fistula surgeons in  the world, despite never having had a day’s formal schooling.
This is a story about the power of compassion, giving, and an unlikely friendship, that will capture your heart.

Reviews and Comments

“To know Mamitu is to love her. This superbly researched biography brims over with love, faith, kindness, selflessness – the finest values of our shared humanity… Healing Lives is at once heartbreaking and breathtaking in its tenderness and inspiration.”

The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVOFormer Governor General of Australia

“A story that uplifts the spirits by recounting the remarkable journey of two women, drawn together by a collective passion to live lives filled with purpose. Their combined legacies will endure and serve to inspire all those who want to make an impact. Essential reading for anyone keen to learn what humanitarianism looks like at its very best.”


“I commend this powerful and beautiful story about an incredible and sustained partnership that has changed the lives of millions of women in Ethiopia and around the world. The work that Catherine Hamlin and Mamitu Gashe did for more than 50 years has been an inspiration to so many. In a time when we are globally concerned about the future, this story of partnership, courage, determination, empathy and vision will inspire and lift you up.”

Professor Caroline Homer AO

“An unforgettable story of two extraordinary women. Moving, inspirational and all true! You won’t be able to put it down.”

Wendy SharpeArtist

“In Healing Lives, Sue Williams tells the lesser known story of the deep friendship between Hamlin and one of her early fistula patients, Mamitu Gashe, who went on to become a fistula surgeon in her own right.
This is a story of rare devotion between two women who dedicated their lives to restoring hope and making childbirth safe.”

Fiona CappSydney Morning Herald, Melbourne Age, Brisbane Times

“The recently released “Healing Lives” by Sue Williams, beautifully and superbly tells Mamitu Gashe’s peerless story. Perfect for EVERY Christmas stocking”

lenna Copley CEO at Silver Rock ConsultingSydney Morning Herald, Melbourne Age, Brisbane Times

“An incredible picture of love and care.”


“Wow! Just wow!”