Parish gives the gift of life for Mother’s Day

Ugandan women with the birthing kits (Carousel Media, Uganda 2017)

Members of an Adelaide parish honoured Mother’s Day on Sunday in a different way – by digging deep into their pockets to support women giving birth in developing countries. Source: The Southern Cross.

For the past nine years the Adelaide Hills parish, together with a local fitness class, has supported the Mother’s Day Birthing Kit Appeal, raising on average about $1100 each year. The donations are then presented to Adelaide High School, where students help to assemble kits which are distributed by the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia.

Liz O’Leary, who is a member of the parish’s Social Justice Committee, said parishioners see the appeal as a way of helping other mothers in the world.

“Some mothers ask their children that instead of buying presents for Mother’s Day to make a donation, while others give money in memory of their mothers who have passed away. Whatever the reason, this appeal has really clicked in the parish and we’ve had a great response over the years,” Ms O'Leary said.

The birthing kit project was established 20 years ago by the Zonta Club of the Adelaide Hills. It was so successful that in 2006 the national Birthing Kit Foundation was formed and today it has partnerships with more than 40 organisations in around 20 countries. About 200,000 kits are distributed annually.

As Ms O’Leary explained, the birthing kits, which are valued at about $3 each, are “so simple” and yet can make a “huge difference” to a mother giving birth in an impoverished country.

“The statistics for women who die in childbirth are appalling. 830 women die every day from preventable causes and 99 per cent of maternal deaths occur in developing countries,” she said.

The kits include a large sheet of plastic (providing a clean surface for the mother to give birth on), some soap (to wash the birth attendant’s hands and the mother’s perineum), disposable gloves (to cover the birth attendant’s hands and prevent infection), a piece of cord (to cleanly tie the umbilical cord), a sterile blade (to cut the umbilical cord and reduce the risk of newborn tetanus and sepsis) and gauze (to clear the newborn’s eyes and prevent infection).


Helping mothers around the world (The Southern Cross

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