Tag Archives: newborns

How You Can Help Mothers and Babies in Syria’s Idlib Camps

War is suffocating every corner of Syria and has been for the past several years. In areas that are close to neighboring countries like Idlib province that borders Turkey, Syrians from all over the country are fleeing there for safety believing that those border regions won’t fall under severe air attack. Unfortunately, as we learned last week, that just is not the case.

Chemicals, including sarin gas, rained upon civilians in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province last week and while it definitely happened as we saw in newspapers and on the news leaders involved in the region are striking fingers at their enemies. The United States is blaming Russia and the Assad regime for the chemical attacks, the Assad regime is blaming the rebels, the rebels are blaming the Assad regime, and Putin is now saying that the United States is putting “false flag” attempts on Syria blaming them for the chemical attacks in order to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, men, women, and children continue to suffer daily. In the Idlib camps for internally displaced people, NGOs are providing as much aid as possible to the thousands of families who fled cities like Aleppo, Damascus, and Homs with intense hopes of crossing into Turkey where they instead found the border had been strictly closed.

Aid agencies provide food, water, and medical attention to those living in the camps, but they need as much help as they can get. Four Chicago mothers know this well and have started a fund to send baby supplies to 1500 babies in the Idlib camps with the help of Chicago-based Heroic Hearts Organization. Called a Parcel of Love campaign, you can donate as much as you’d like from bath essentials for $20 to feeding essentials for $80 to a fully equipped baby box for $240.

The Parcel of Love campaign has already raised $92,000, but there is a long way to go to help improve the beginnings for the children who have already come into this world with so little. 

To donate visit: http://hchearts.org/campaigns/parcel-of-love. And, also please spread the word to your networks to help this worthy cause.

Double Your Donation Today By Giving to World Vision #GivingTuesday

When I travel to low-income countries I am most interested in learning about and reporting on maternal and newborn health. As a mother of two daughters it is my biggest passion.

Today on Giving Tuesday I am proud to work with one of my favorite international nonprofit organizations: World Vision USA. I had the distinct opportunity to travel with them to the Philippines a few years ago and saw their programs for women and newborns at a local clinic that had been rebuilt after seeing major structural damage by Typhoon Haiyan. I am always grateful to see up close the amazing work done by organizations I admire.

This year for Giving Tuesday I am happy to say that your charitable donation to World Vision’s lifesaving work with mothers and newborns will be generously matched in product by Thirty-One Gifts. Products like totes (such as the one seen below), blankets, apparel, and thermals will be matched up to $2,000,000 and will be given to help mothers and infants around the world where World Vision works. That’s a lot of giving in one day!

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My daughter wearing a World Vision tote by Thirty-One Gifts. You can choose any item to donate through World Vision today, but if you want to make a direct donation to support new mothers and their infants, I recommend the New Mother and Baby Kit!

Today in the spirit of giving you can give any gift to World Vision you’d like, but can specifically give a gift to help new mothers and newborns (my personal recommendation) in countries where they need it most.

Happy Giving Tuesday! 

Maternal Malnutrition Affects Future Generations: Kenya Must Break the Cycle

By Elizabeth Echoka, Kenya Medical Research Institute and Lydia Kaduka, Kenya Medical Research Institute

Nutrition of women before and during pregnancy and when breastfeeding is critical in determining the health and survival of the mother and of her unborn baby.

Undernourished pregnant women have higher reproductive risks. They are more likely to experience obstructed labour, or to die during or after childbirth. Poor nutrition in pregnancy also results in babies growing poorly in the womb and being born underweight and susceptible to diseases. These mothers also invariably produce low quality breast milk.

Maternal malnutrition has inter-generational consequences because it is cyclical. Poor nutrition in pregnancy is linked to undernourishment in-utero which results in low birth weight, pre-maturity, and low nutrient stores in infants. These babies end up stunted and, in turn, give birth to low birth weight babies. Optimal maternal nutrition is therefore vital to break this inter-generational cycle.

In Kenya, women’s nutritional needs during pregnancy has not received much attention. This has exposed a gap in efforts to improve maternal and child health.

Continue reading Maternal Malnutrition Affects Future Generations: Kenya Must Break the Cycle

How Foster Parents Make Up the Backbone of SOS Children’s Villages Illinois

I have had the great pleasure of seeing two SOS Children’s Villages: one in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the other in Chicago, Illinois. While they are markedly different the premise is the same and that is to provide quality care with a loving family for children who have been orphaned or abandoned.

SOS Children's Villages in Chicago, Illinois.
SOS Children’s Villages in Chicago, Illinois.

The SOS Children’s Village I visited in Chicago looks like many neighborhoods you might see anywhere in America, but it is made up of 17 single-family homes led by a Foster Parent with children who desperately need SOS Children’s Villages services. In fact, the Chicago Village is SOS Children’s Villages first urban village in the world. SOS Children’s Villages provides stable family homes for children who may not have parents at all or may have parents who are incapable of taking care of them properly.

Continue reading How Foster Parents Make Up the Backbone of SOS Children’s Villages Illinois