There is a Haitian proverb that says: “Yo pa ka achte moso manman nan mache”. This loosely translates to Mothers are irreplaceable.
The sanctity of this proverb is especially relevant as we approach Mother’s Day this weekend. As we prepare to honor the important maternal figures in our lives, let us also reflect on the importance of motherhood throughout the world and the critical role that mothers play in society. International Child Care tirelessly works to support mothers in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Haiti has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. To protect the lives of mothers and their precious newborns, ICC has created the Healthy Birth Program. ICC trains Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA’s), or midwives, who are the principal source of care for pregnant women in Haiti. TBAs are educated in the techniques of delivery, importance of proper hygiene, signs of complications in pregnancy or delivery, and the dangers of certain traditional Haitian practices. Once formerly trained, a TBA receives a certificate and delivery kit, and is required to attend regular refresher courses. Given that most Haitian mothers-to-be are unable to afford the expense of an institutional delivery, over 80% of all births in Haiti occur at home. The training of TBAs is therefore crucial to health and safety of Haitian mothers and children.
The Micro-Enterprise Loan Program helps Haitian women become financially self-sufficient and provide their families with basic necessities that poverty denies, including food, health care, education, and improved living conditions. Loan amounts are approximately $50 US and are low interest. Women enrolled in the program typically use their loans to buy items in bulk (such as rice, sugar, or soap) and then resell them in smaller quantities in the local market. Other women choose to focus on selling items that are not readily available in their villages, or to sell seasonal items like school supplies in the fall or Christmas items in December. The Mirco-Enterprise Loan Program provides more than simply hope for a better future; it gives women the means to improve their circumstances and the lives of their children.
In the Dominican Republic, ICC empowers mothers to give their disabled children a chance to be fully included in their own communities. While people with disabilities face challenges no matter where they live, it is especially difficult for those in developing countries like the Dominican Republic. Geographic and economic barriers make it hard for most Dominicans to access rehabilitation services, which tend to be institution-based and only affordable to wealthier families.
The Community Based Rehabilitation Program sends trained rehabilitation workers, called Promotoras, into the homes of children with disabilities who live in and around the city of Santiago, Dominican Republic. The Promotoras teach the child’s parents simple exercises so that they can be actively involved in helping their child grow and develop.
Help ICC support mothers in Haiti and the Dominican Republic by becoming involved in any of the programs mentioned above, or by making a donation. Mother’s truly are irreplaceable. As we near Mother’s Day and continue to reflect on the importance of our own mothers and their impact on our lives, let us remember mothers in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Give today and help mothers support their children tomorrow.
Happy Mother’s Day!