Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A six month commitment to the smallest ones. And a call to protect women in eastern DRC.

Today, I received updates on the children we support in eastern DRC.  If you are a sponsor, I will be updating all of your accounts over the next week with new photos as well as sending out a newsletter with updates from Reeds of Hope.  The good news is that seven of the children are going to the local school which is adjacent to the orphanage.  Children like Moses, Bertin, Muholeza, Musiwa, Nsimire, Chance, and little Chito Wambili.  I was so happy to get that news. 

Moses, 4 years old

The more challenging news is that there are now 47 children at the orphanage.  This is the most children that have been living there since I first went up there almost 4 years ago.  This makes me very concerned for a number of reasons.  One, there are enough mamas there to take care of about 32 children.  That means babies are being left alone in cribs or in bumbo seats, that they are not being held and that they are not being touched enough.  Because there are not enough staff.  Two, it means that we do not have enough sponsors for the number of children in the orphanage, which means that we don't enough funds right now to send all the formula that is needed. 

Baby B. (girl)

There are nine new babies that have arrived at the orphanage, two are are set of twins.  Nine.  My third concern is that this means that eight women have died.  The official name is maternal mortality.  Maternal mortality.  Two words that mean loss, heartache, and for these babies, a crib in an orphanage.  Most likely all of these women died of preventable causes.  This is not right.  This makes me angry and broken.  This should make all of us stand up in outrage and fight to change the deaths of the women who died bringing their babies into the world.  Our hearts should be burdened with these little faces and doing right by them. 

Baby C. (Older twin girl)

Our twin girls turned four this past weekend.  Their mother has been on my mind every day.  Their mother should be alive today.  She should be raising them and loving them.  She should never have died.  And if she had had access to a medical center with trained staff and ready supplies, she would have lived.  

Baby C. (Younger twin girl)

Channel Initiative is working in eastern DRC in an area that has very little maternal health care.  They are working in an area that we have had babies come from at the orphanage we support.  Please, consider supporting their work which is in partnership with Panzi hospital and the work done by Dr. Mukwegi.  Help mothers stay alive so that their babies are not left alone in an orphanage. 

Baby S. (girl, weighs 5 lbs)

Our goal is not international adoption of these babies (as stated before on this blog and on our website we do not facilitate adoptions.  Adoptions are being conducted by OFA, Our Family in Africa.).  Our goal is to help their fathers (or extended family members) be able to care from their children (or other in country care).  Remember that if the mother had never died, the baby would never have come to the orphanage in the first place and the family would have stayed intact. 

Baby V. (boy)

Our goal is to come in and help a family in crisis, to keep families together and children out of orphanages.  Perhaps even before the baby is brought to the orphanage in the first place.  Our goal is short quality care at the "orphanage" we support.  Better it be called a "emergency, short term, baby care home".  It can be done. 

Baby R. (boy)

The next six months are a big time of transition for Reeds of Hope as we move to our new model of family care and support with the goal of helping children find families (following the alternative care framework model in which family reunification is the first goal and international adoption is the last option for those children that cannot be reunified with their families safely or for situations where a domestic solution cannot be found). 

Baby A. (girl)

Times of transition are difficult.  Because not only do we have to raise money for big purchases like a motorcycle for our on ground coordinator and social work salaries, we still need to make sure the commitment we made to bring formula up to the babies is kept as well as paying the school fees for 82 children.

Baby M. (girl)

Would you consider a one time gift to help us with our ongoing monthly costs this month?  Would you consider sponsoring a child for six months through our transition period so that we can focus on our larger projects that enable us to move to our next phases of work?  There are nine babies that need 18 sponsors ($25/month).  Would you consider helping us keep them fed for the next six months?  Please check out our website, I will be listing the children available for sponsorship over the next few days.  Thank you. 

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