Mama Baby Haiti is a small birth centre, perched on the edge of Cap Haitien, Haiti’s sprawling second city. Its mission is to provide care that is otherwise unavailable to the women of the area, striving to achieve some positive change ‘one mama, one baby and one village at a time’. Its work is, in a small way, helping to mend some of the damage done by the tragic earthquake and hurricane of 2009.
What we saw in our time there was far removed from any experiences we’d had training in the UK. We would see 20 women a day; women who had no other place to turn for maternity care. Their situation was frequently desperate. Many of them had been sexually abused, often they had sexually transmitted diseases and most of them had lost family to disease or hunger.
But in the women we met we also saw a strength that inspired us. Women with no training supporting others in childbirth, and women with premature babies who would hand express every feed.
Being in Haiti was a remarkable experience and a powerful reminder of how a small intervention can make a life-changing difference. Many of the women we met had been pregnant 4 or 5 times and most had lost at least one child. In a country where termination is not an option and contraception is expensive and inaccessible we saw a real need to empower women to plan and space their pregnancies so that each child grew strong and healthy.
For the price of a bunch of roses on Valentines you could help a woman plan her family and keep them healthy and happy. Three months' contraceptive protection costs £1, a tubal ligation costs £20.
On Sunday 11th February 2012 we are holding a fundraiser for the contraception programme we founded whilst in Haiti. It will be At Darn It and Stitch on St Aldates from 12.30-4pm. Please join us for cake, tea, knitting, and a yarn swap. Non knitters welcome.
You can find out more and donate directly to Mama Baby Haiti at www.mamababyhaiti.org