Seventy-five years ago, the state of Finland began a programme that provided expectant mothers with a starter-kit for their newborns. Complete with clothes, sheets, toys and the ability to be used as a bed, some say the box put Finland on the fast-track to one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.
Working in partnership with the African Impact projects in St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, and relying on the generosity of volunteers, locals and family and friends back home who want to lend a helping hand, a similar initiative has been employed.
“Giving out donations is one of the nicest parts of being an Intern,” explains Stacey Addison, currently based on behalf of The Happy Africa Foundation in St Lucia. “ And with spring finally having arrived in St Lucia, it seemed appropriate to welcome three lovely newborn babies into the world with a small gift.”
Liaising with the local Zulu staff on sight, a list of what would go in the ‘Starter Pack’ for mothers was created, complete with everything a mother and her newborn could need. These parcels included nappies, wet wipes, dummies, bottles, a rattle, baby grows, tops, trousers, a jumper, hats, socks, a towel and a cuddly toy. Not unlike the list of items in Finland’s boxes, over 10,00 kilometres away.
Two of the ladies that received these ‘Starter Packs’ last week were on the Medical and Home Based Care Programme. All three of the ladies were very happy with their gifts and were grateful for the thoughtfulness of these parcels. The initiative was in fact so well-received that it will surely become a regular occurrence in the communities surrounding St Lucia.