Local Moms Work To Improve Global Maternal and Child Health
Updated On: May 11 2014 11:11:10 PM CDT
On Mother's Day, many women spend the day celebrating with their families, while other moms in third-world countries are worried about their health.
At the non-profit organization Direct Relief in Goleta, dozens of local moms, grandmothers and great-grandmothers are working behind the scenes to help create healthy families around the world by improving the lives of other less-fortunate moms.
The Holy Rollers, as they are affectionately called, are comprised of a group of women who meet once a week at Direct Relief Headquarters to turn donated bed sheets into medical bandages. Their bandages are shipped all over the world. Volunteer Susie Ardouin says, "We've done this for 20 some years, probably 25 or so. We have rolled about 400,000 bandages."
A shipment of The Holy Rollers painstaking work was just sent to a birthing center in a typhoon-affected area in the Philippines. The birthing center is run by a midwife who offers free prenatal, delivery and postpartum care to women there. Ardouin says the midwife delivered 400 babies in the last six months.
Another group of local women making a difference are the Direct Relief Women. They support Direct Relief's goal of improving maternal and child health across the globe. Direct Relief Women raise money and awareness about the struggle many women have delivering their children. Member Kira Fay says, "A woman dies every two minutes due to complications from childbirth or pregnancy each year. In addition, over one million babies die in their first day of life. The majority of this loss of life is preventable."
Direct Relief Women has raised over 500,000 dollars to support the organization's maternal and child initiatives. Fay says the group also wants to raise awareness about the non-profits' Midwife Kits that can help a midwife deliver 50 babies. Direct Relief says 1,000 babies in the Philippines will be born safely thanks to 20 recently delivered kits.
Fay says she is honored to be a part of Direct Relief Women and is continually inspired. Fay also wants to send a message of hope to women in need. Fay says "We're here for you. We care about you. You are not alone."
Direct Relief plans to send more Midwife Kits to the Philippines, Sierra Leone and Somaliland.
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