It is difficult to believe how much Haiti is suffering. Not only was its president assassinated a little over a month ago, but a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit last weekend with a death toll now of over 1400. And, if that is not enough, a tropical storm is quickly barreling its way towards the island where mudslides will inevitably cause additional deaths, injuries, and property damage. This is all amid an interim government that has not gotten its bearings after President
I had the privilege of visiting Haiti once. That was five years after the devastating earthquake in 2010 that killed 200,000 and injured 300,000. Even after five years I could clearly see where buildings had not been rebuilt and rubble was still bulldozed into corners across Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.
Then, I went to see the work of Midwives for Haiti whose dedication to quality maternity care in the poorest country in the western hemisphere I admire greatly. While Midwives for Haiti was not immediately affected by the earthquake, there will undoubtedly be an increased need for its help in the region because as its Executive Director, Jane Drichta, said in her most recent newsletter, “Haiti is a small nation and what affects one, affects all.”
Mother’s Day is the perfect holiday to splurge on the moms in your life as well as to support moms around the world. It’s a day to show love for mothers we know and to also remain mindful of the mothers everywhere who may need a little or even a lot of help for them and their families.
In a political climate where more and more US funding is being stalled or even cut for maternal and reproductive health globally, these gifts can help mothers in more ways than you might realize.
Here are organizations we believe in and help mothers survive pregnancy and childbirth.
Midwives for Haiti: After spending time in Haiti with Midwives for Haiti a few years ago and seeing the amazing care they provide for poor, rural expecting Haitian women, I cannot recommend donating to them enough! Midwives for Haiti’s mobile clinic gives Haitian women the opportunity to receive quality maternal health care without having to walk for hours for antenatal appointments.
Midwives for Haiti is currently in the midst of a fundraiser for its mobile clinic. $10 provides care for one mom. Donate for Mother’s Day and help them reach their $60,000 goal by May 15.
Jacaranda Health: Jacaranda Health is providing expectant mothers in Kenya with great maternity care. In fact, Jacaranda Health just received distinction as one of the highest quality maternity care providers in East Africa.
Every Mother Counts:Every Mother Counts has a wonderful Mother’s Day fundraiser going on their website where you can buy wonderful gifts and a portion of the net proceeds goes directly to saving women’s lives while they’re pregnant.
Using the universal symbol of maternal health, the orange rose, Every Mother Counts has launched its Mother’s Day Orange Rose collection with partners including Tom’s, Minted, and Marc Jacobs and
We wrote about Tony’s Chocolonely the other day and wanted to also include them again in our Mother’s Day gift guide. Tony’s Chocolonely offers slave-free chocolate. Not only is it ethical chocolate, it’s also delicious! Tony’s Chocolonely offers two different sizes and seven flavors. Buy your mom chocolate for Mother’s Day.
GIVEAWAY: Win Elevita’s Best Bag Ever Made By Cambodian Artisans
Elevita is on a mission to alleviate poverty worldwide by helping artisans in developing countries find a greater world market for their products. Visit Elevita to read more about their mission and to see their artisan wares.
B.D. Colen, a documentary photographer, is currently in Haiti with our partner Midwives for Haiti capturing the realities of maternal health for many Haitian women who live in the country’s poor Central Plateau. The mothers who receive care from Midwives for Haiti are the lucky ones. They have access to prenatal care at mobile clinics in the region as well as in far-off villages with traditional birth attendants or matrones as they are called in Creole. Expectant mothers are also afforded quality labor and delivery as well as postnatal care in the hospital. Midwives for Haiti also teaches matrones how to perform safe, clean births for women who object to delivering in the hospital or for those who want to deliver in the hospital but it’s too far and they cannot afford transport.
The sunny, steaming hot morning when I visited L’Hôpital Sainte-Thérèse in Hinche, Haiti, the maternity unit was overflowing with busy midwives checking charts and administering care, nurses-in-training in white and yellow uniforms obtaining requisite clinical hours, as well as a few obstetricians checking on patients. Of course, there were expectant mothers, mothers who had just given birth, and those who were being prepped to deliver their babies. Husbands and other family members milled about slowly, but deliberately, bringing food and water to their loved ones, or just sat on benches and waited.
In each of the maternity units – antenatal, postpartum, and labor and delivery – there was a bed for every woman. No expectant mother laid on the ground waiting for space. In fact, I even saw some empty beds. That is not always the case I was told. Some times of the month are busier than others, but each mother can be accommodated.
Some expectant mothers – many with swollen feet and ankles – walked around slowly outdoors in the sunlight angling for some type of momentary relief from the constant wave of contractions. Others laid in bed with worried eyes anticipating the incumbent pain they faced. When I visited labor and delivery, one mother’s screams were piercing and she wasn’t even pushing yet. Another woman was calm, smiled, and gave me a quick wave as I walked by despite her contractions. Midwives were attending to their care – calmly and respectfully.
In an earlier piece today, How is Haiti Faring Five Years After the Earthquake, development and recovery effort data and details were rather pessimistic. The numbers bear out that while some overall development achievements have been met, there is still a long way to go to help Haiti fully recover. And, yet, there continues to be successes all over Haiti. Our partners are helping to make these successes happen.
SOS Children’s Villages
On January 10, 2015, SOS Children’s Villages opened its third village for orphaned children in Les Cayes, Haiti. 63 children will be provided a home. For over 30 years, SOS Children’s Villages has provided family-based care and education programs in Santo and Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. Immediately following the earthquake SOS Children’s Villages took in 400 orphaned children and fed 24,000 children every day.
“The biggest challenge for SOS Children’s Villages during the earthquake was to find a way to welcome these children because the village was too small,” said Celigny Darius, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages – Haiti. “We installed temporary houses to enable us to take them in.”
In addition to the opening of its third village, SOS Children’s Villages has invested in six schools to renew education on the island. And 3000 children receive support through their community centers.