A new mom in Laos Photo Credit: Kristyn Zalota
It’s over 100 degrees Farenheit and I am dripping sweat as we enter the home of a mother who has recently given birth at a Lao hospital using a Clean Birth Kit, supplied by my organization CleanBirth.org. She is wearing a long skirt and hooded sweatshirt. Under the platform bed where she sleeps a clay pot is filled with glowing coals. Her newborn baby sleeps under blankets with mittens on her tiny hands and a knit cap. The mother, sweating profusely, is drinking piping hot herbal tea. She eats chicken four times a day and showers in the hottest water she can tolerate four times a day. Her four older children and husband are nearby, taking care of her and the household while she recovers.
This is a good birth story in Laos where my organization CleanBirth.org works. This mother birthed naturally with a Clean Birth Kit under the watchful eye of a trained midwife. Her traditions were respected and she and baby left the hospital healthy.
A baby needlessly dies.
However, many birth stories in Laos don’t tell the tale of mothers and babies surviving birth. A nurse at a rural clinic told of a 45-year old mother, pregnant with baby #14, who came into the clinic for help during labor. Her membranes had been ruptured for 29 hours and she arrived at the clinic exhausted. After a normal vaginal delivery, the newborn could breastfeed but was weak. He died 9 hours after birth, likely of an infection. The clinic does not have IV antibiotics, so the nurses were powerless to fight the infection.
World Moms help CleanBirth.org empower nurses.
CleanBirth.org Founder Kristyn Zalota training nurses in Laos
My visit to Laos last month was my fifth training trip with CleanBirth.org, the organization I started in 2012 to empower women in Laos to have safer births. Since 2012, we have provided 5,000 Clean Birth Kits and training for over 250 nurses.
This March, with my Lao partner organization ACD, we trained 71 nurses in the use and distribution of Clean Birth Kits and the WHO’s Essentials of Newborn Care.
Five of those nurses were fully funded by World Moms Blog donors, who gave $1,100 during our February fundraising campaign.
Our twice-annual trainings give nurses new skills and confidence. We also supply them with as many birth kits as they need throughout the year.
The trainings and subsequent improvement in care in the 31 clinics we serve, has led my Lao partner organization to ask that we fund an additional 13 clinics and a local hospital. When we visited the local hospital, midwives there told us that of the 50 births they see per month, 35-40 mothers bring with them our ayzh Clean Birth Kits — which they received at their local clinic. The midwives praised the convenience/effectiveness of the kits. They asked CleanBirth.org to provide around 10-15 kits per month directly to their hospital for mothers who don’t have a kit. This we will do.
It is a huge endorsement of our program to have our local partner and a hospital asking to expand our work to new areas. This means that they are seeing the benefits and that locals are deciding the future direction of the project. They are in charge.
My role as founder of CleanBirth.org will be to continue finding funding for kits and training. For just $5 we can prevent an infection like the one mentioned above. If you’d like you join our small but mighty effort please donate www.cleanbirth.org/donate.
Thank you World Moms for all of your support!
World Moms Blog has been supporting the mission of CleanBirth.org, founded by contributor Krysin Zalota, from the beginning. After all, we are a group of moms here, so it has made us even more compassionate to the need for safe, sterile birth for the sake of both babies and their mamas. In the villages where Cleanbirth.org operates women traditionally give birth alone in the forest. Laos has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the region.
You can follow our fundraising efforts and join in — only $5 provides a clean birth kit! — here: http://cleanbirth.causevox.com/world-moms-blog. We’ve already raised $490! Please help us break $500!
In 2015, its third full year of operation, Cleanbirth.org has provided 1,179 moms in the program in Laos with clean births, where there were zero reports of infections and where 170 nurses were trained. We continue to support the organization and maternal health worldwide, not just on the World Moms Blog site, but on many of our personal blogs, as well. Here are a few of the blog posts and campaigns that World Moms contributors have launched this year around Cleanbirth.org.
This May, Ewa Samples from Ewa Samples Photography and CleanBirth are coming together for a second edition of a Mother’s Day Campaign to raise funds to help moms in Laos together.
Last year they were able to raise almost $600 in two days! This year, they invite everyone in the Bay Area, California, to join in to support this wonderful cause.
Ewa will be offering special packages for family photography sessions, where part of the profit will be donated to CleanBirth.
Our Managing Editor, Elizabeth Atalay, in Rhode Island, USA wrote about Cleanbirth.org this month on her blog, Documama:
$5.00 Can Save 2 Lives With CleanBirth.org
Over in the United Arab Emirates, World Mom, KC of Mummy in Transit, also wrote about why helping make births safer in Laos is important to her!:
Nicole Melancon did this fantastic interview with Clean Birth Founder Kristyn Zalota in 2015:
One Mom’s Quest to Save Mother’s Lives in Laos
Sophia of ThinkSayBe shared her birth stories in support of Cleanbirth.org this year:
“Reading about what CleanBirth.org definitely made me assess my own pregnancies and the access we (my babies and I) had to clean and modern facilities in case of emergencies during the pregnancy, and for a safe delivery to my babies and myself.”
And, here is our post on World Moms Blog introducing the kick off of the Cleanbirth.org campaign!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog.
*We apologize for the choppy first version of this post that was published. Our editors were facing technical difficulties!
“When a mother receives the kit, she is happy. She feels that the kit will make her safe.” – Jun Ping, nurse, Tahoy District, Laos.
It’s true: the Clean Birth Kits my organization CleanBirth.org provides pregnant women in southern Laos do make birth safer when used correctly. Kits contain everything a mother needs to prevent infection in herself and her baby: gloves, soap, 2 clean absorbent pads, clean blade, 2 clean cord clamps, and picture instructions.
However, while the contents of this small pink bag can save lives, there is no guarantee they will.
In order to truly impact outcomes, the kits must be distributed by nurses who counsel mothers and families to use the supplies in a hygienic way, in the proper order, with a birth helper present.
The pivotal role of the local nurses is a lesson I have learned since we began supplying kits 3 years ago. Nurses speak the language, share the culture, and venture deep into jungle villages. They are the sole hope of villagers, who cannot travel to clinics due to distance, petrol expense, and washed out roads.
Well-trained nurses ensure that the promise of the small pink bags is realized in a healthy birth for baby and mother.
CleanBIrth.org works to give nurses the training they need by funding two trainings per year. This March, with our local partner and volunteer midwives from the Yale School of Nursing, we will again train nurses about Clean Birth Kits and the WHO’s Essentials of Newborn Care.
This year’s training will have a special focus on “Training the Trainer.” We want nurses to not only learn but to become teachers themselves.
To achieve our goal of training each and every one of the 62 nurses at the 31 clinics we serve, we need your help to raise $15,000 by February 13th.
You the readers and contributors of World Moms Blog have supported CleanBirth.org since it’s founding in 2012, and this year is no exception.
We are counting on you again. Please visit World Moms Blog’s fundraising page and donate what you can: $5 funds a birth kit, $120 provides Clean Birth Kits training for a nurse. http://cleanbirth.causevox.com/world-moms-blog
Thank you for your support!
Since 2012, we have trained 200+ nurses and staff and provided 3,000 Clean Birth Kits to moms and babies in Laos. We pay nurses a stipend for the work that they do for CleanBirth.org.
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Kristyn Zalota, Founder CleanBirth.org
Photo Credits: Kristyn Zalota, Cleanbirth.org
Happy New Year #WorldMoms! If 2016 is anything like 2015 for us it is going to be a fantastic year! Here are some highlights, impact, and accomplishments of World Moms in 2015.
Founder and CEO, Jennifer Burden, accepted the UN Correspondents Association award on behalf of World Mom, Purnima Ramakrishnan of India:
Purnima was unable to attend the event in New York as she was busy reporting on the flooding in Chennai, India where she lives with her family.
Managing Editor Elizabeth Atalay joined Jen at Cipriani in New York City for the UNCA Award Gala where they also caught up with Dan Thomas, a Communications Director at the UN. Dan was formerly our World Moms contact at the GAVI Alliance when he was in Switzerland!
Jennifer and Steve Burden were in NYC to commemorate World AIDS Day and 10 years of ONE and (RED) with special guests Bono and The Edge, Hozier, Danai Gurira, Trevor Noah, Bill and Melinda Gates and more! #WAD2015 #WorldMoms
Kirsten Doyle of Canada, visited her home country of South Africa in 2015. No international journey is complete without meeting up with a local World Mom! Here she is with Mama Simona in Cape Town!
We celebrated #DayoftheGirl with our daughters from around the world. World Mom, Aisha Yesufu in Nigeria, wrote our post for #DayoftheGirl and her daughter is pictured below.
World Mom Nicole Melancon climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with Solar Sisters to raise funds to launch new solar entrepreneurs.
Our editors stay connected with global Skype calls throughout the year.
World Mom, Kristyn Zalota, continued to help to provide nurse training and Clean Birth Kits to mothers in Laos through the non-profit she founded Cleanbirth.org.
World Mom, Susie in Israel, took her daughter in to the hospital where she works hard saving lives in Israel for “Take Your Daughter to Work Day!”
World Moms Blog attended the first ever Media Tour of Heifer Farms in Massachusetts.
There were lots of speaking engagements around the world including:
World Moms Blog’s panel at the World Bank in April 2015 in Washington, DC on the importance of universal education for girls!
World Mom, Cynthia Changyit Levin, also spoke at a RESULTS conference in Washington, DC on ending poverty.
World Mom, To-wen Tseng, spoke at a Breastfeeding Conference in LA.
And World Mom Sophia Neghesti Johnson spoke at a storytelling event for children, including a village story from Kenya, and one from Austria.
In September while in New York for UN General Assembly week World Moms met up at a ONE Campaign “Poverty is Sexist” party and hung out with activist and Reggae legend, Rocky Dawani. We were also in NYC at that time for the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Social Good Summit.:
We also started our collaboration with BabyCenter in October 2015, where our moms can also be found writing!
In Kenya World Mom Tara Wambugu toured an elephant orphanage in Nairobi.
Managing Editor, Elizabeth Atalay, and Social Media Editor, Nicole Morgan, advocated for vaccinations for children who need them most in Washington, DC with the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign and were both 2015 United Nations Foundation #SocialGood Fellows:
This summer World Mom, Jennifer Burden, visited the woman who wrote the very first post on World Moms Blog on November 1st, 2010! Astrid Warren, formerly known as pen name Asta Burrows, helped Jen raise the Lady WMB colors in Sogndal, Norway! The two took their families camping together among the fjords this past summer!
World Mom Alison Fraser, Founder of Mom2MomAfrica visited students benefitting from the program she started in Tanzania.
World Moms Blog Founder and CEO, Jennifer Burden, interviewed the CEO of Save the Children, Carolyn Miles, in April 2015 at the UN in New York City. They were there for the UNCA press conference for the State of the World Mothers Report.
Aisha proudly voted in the March Elections in Nigeria.
World Mom, Aisha Yesufu of Nigeria, proudly votes in her country’s elections this year.
World Moms Blog Founder and CEO, Jennifer Burden, met the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban ki moon, at the UNCA gala in New York City in December.
We are excited to head into 2016 with new partners and exciting plans, and to see what this new year holds! Happy New Year!
The Truth About Fundraising.
When I talk about the fundraising work that I do for the organization I started, CleanBirth.org, I often hear in response, “I could never ask people for money.”
I’ll be honest, I don’t have a choice. When I began providing moms with life-saving birth supplies, in partnership with a local NGO in Laos, I used my own funds. Happily, the $5 kits proved effective and more moms wanted the sterile, convenient supplies that prevent deadly infections in moms and babies. How could I say no?
So I promised to fund as many kits as were needed.
Since we began in November 2012 we have provided 4,000 birth kits to moms and training for 180 nurses and staff.
Knowing that my own funds couldn’t sustain the project, I told my story to others. I wasn’t great at promoting the project at first but many friends and family supported me anyways. The tagline: $5 Saves 2 Lives in Laos proved irresistible.
Now 3 years on, the project has grown beyond my own social network. Thanks to bloggers at World Moms Blogs and others, we have extended our reach worldwide. I am constantly touched by the simple notes of support that accompany donations from complete strangers:
Thank you for doing what you do for mothers and babies!
Another great aspect of fundraising is working with others who want to share their special gifts to make birth safer. One example is a fun collaboration happening now for Mother’s Day. World Moms Blogger and photographer Ewa Kuc of Ewa Samples Photography in the Bay Area has developed awesome Mother’s Day photo session packages. A full 40% of the profits go to CleanBirth.org!
In my almost 3 years doing this, I have come to appreciate that fundraising is a give and take proposition.
I’m not just taking money but giving something to donors: a feeling of making a positive impact in the world; the piece of mind that comes from donating to a transparent, registered organization; or a tangible gift to give a loved one.
One such gift, our $10 Mother’s Day cards, honor mom or grandma & provide 2 moms in Laos with Clean Birth Kits.
So the truth about fundraising is that I do ask for money. (Please click here to buy our Mother’s Day cards!! J) But I also get to connect with many generous people who are committed to making their world a better place. We each give, and we each take. Not so scary after all.
What benefits do you receive from donating or volunteering with a non-profit?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Kristyn Zalota, the founder of Clean birth.org
Photo credits Kristyn Zalota.