20 May, 2012

A Helping Hand

Yesterday I had the opportunity to give something back to women, globally. A great friend of mine heard about an event that was looking for volunteers to help pack birthing kits to be sent to developing (third world) nations. The event sounded intriguing. Just what would be in a birthing kit anyway?

For those of us who are in the developed world, we would never think that having a large piece of black plastic, a surgical scalpel, gloves, gauze, ligatures (pieces of cotton string) and a piece of soap would be a luxury when giving birth. When we ask after a friends birth it is usually to inquire 'Which drugs did you go for?"

This birthing kit day was hosted by the Brisbane River Zonta Club. Zonta International is a global organisation who share commitment of womens' rights and gender equality for all women - regardless of their global location. The women who join are primarily professional women (or who were in the professional sector) who wish to give something back by strategising and organising awareness of womens' issues, working to advance the status of women, and fundraising to make a difference. Zonta International exists in about 65 countries worldwide and has thousands of women members.

The women who attended the event yesterday cut hundreds of metres of plastic and string, separated numerous boxes of gauze, paired cases of single gloves, dug into buckets of pre-cut soaps and filled approximately 1200 zip lock bags with all of the things that can mean the difference between life and death to a woman and her newborn child. Simple items like soap to wash their hands, string to tie off the umbilical cord, a scalpel to cut the cord and gauze to wipe the nose, mouth and eyes of a newborn are a luxury that thousands of women only dream of. Just having a sheet of plastic to give birth on (and not on a dirt floor) is something these women are thankful for.

It really makes you think about all we have and take for granted.

It sure made an impression on me.

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