This post is the third installment by  Kristyn Zalota, Founder of CleanBirth.org, about her work in Laos. To read the first post in the series,click here:  “One Mom’s Mission to Save Lives in Laos”. To read the second post, click here: “Small Project Big Impact: Making Birth Safe in Laos”

IMG_0104As you may know from my previous posts, I am a mom on a mission to make birth safer in Laos. This month my organization, CleanBirth.org, has the goal of raising enough funds to save 1,000 mothers and 1,000 babies.

I am a doula, Lamaze educator, and advocate for safe birth for impoverished women.  I was drawn to work in Laos, because women there die at a higher rate than Afghani women and Lao babies die at a higher rate than babies in Sudan.

In November 2012, I traveled to southern Laos and, with my Lao partner organization, trained nurses in the use and distribution of Clean Birth Kits.  When the nurses told me that women give birth alone, I agreed to fund community education about safe birthing practices

Having completed the nurses’ training, we went deep into the mountains to visit the clinics there.  I immediately sensed the grinding poverty of the area.  People live on $1 per day.  The life expectancy of women is short, either due to childbirth (8-12 births) or disease.  Most will lose several babies.

What do you see when you walk into the villages?  Naked kids with runny noses.  Mothers with babies in slings.  Bamboo and wood one-room dwellings on stilts.  No electricity, not a single store.  While a new road connecting Thailand and Vietnam is bringing change, it is mostly in the form of human trafficking, HIV, and environmental degradation.

IMG_0177Despite their poverty, when I looked into the women’s faces, I saw myself.  The way they herded their children, nuzzled their babies, and tucked unruly hair behind ears.

I knew, as I watched them, that on a fundamental level they want what I want.  They want their babies to be healthy. They want to be able to care for their children, for as long as their kids need them.

I have promised the nurses that I will send 1,000 kits and training funds, equaling $5,000. $5 covers the cost of birthing supplies and training for a mother and baby.

From Feb 5th-8th, World Moms Blog is asking you to help a mother out…just because…it’s important. Here are ways you can help!

* Donate your Facebook status to say: “It’s so simple. $5 Saves 2 Lives: http://Cleanbirth.org  Join me and donate your status, too!”  (Tag Cleanbirth.org and World Moms Blog on Facebook, if you can!)

* Sample Tweet: “Help Me Save a Mother’s Life in Laos! $5 Saves 2 Lives: http://Cleanbirth.org @CleanBirth @WorldMomsBlog

And most importantly, please donate

Donate $5. Each birth kit gets us closer to our goal of 1,000 birth kits!

So, come on…tell us what normally costs you $5! Tell us in the comments to be entered to win a World Moms Blog tote bag! 

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our World Voice contributor and Cleanbirth.org founder, Kristyn Zalota.  

Photo credits to CleanBirth.org. 

Kristyn Zalota

Kristyn brings her years of experience as an entrepreneur and serial volunteer to CleanBirth.org. She holds a MA, has run small businesses in Russia and the US, and has volunteered in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Uganda on projects related to women’s empowerment. After having children, Kristyn became an advocate for mothers in the US, as a doula and Lamaze educator, and abroad, as the Founder of CleanBirth.org. She is honored to provide nurses in Laos with the supplies, funding and training they need to lower maternal and infant mortality rates in their villages.

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