At the District 4 Conference held in September 2009, the membership voted to assemble and distribute birthing kits.
What is in a birthing kit?
- Plastic – 1 m x 1 m or 36″ x 36″
- Gloves, 2 per kit
- 3 pieces of umbilical cord tie, or 2 clamps
- Scalpel/razor blades if cord is used
- Gauze- 5 small squares
Collectively, the clubs in District 4 have assembled and distributed thousands of kits.
Birthing Kit Resources
Article from May 2013 K-W newspaper
Local moms and daughters assemble aid for moms-to-be in developing countries
WATERLOO — For a group of local women, volunteering their time to help moms-to-be across the globe was the perfect way to mark Mother’s Day weekend.
These women — members and friends of the Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo — worked in a makeshift assembly line to package 1,000 birthing kits that will be sent to Lesotho, Africa.
“The statistics are there are about half a million women who die in childbirth every year so we’re hoping that by providing a little bit cleaner birthing situation we can maybe help alleviate that,” said Muriel Omand-Naylor, organizer of the Saturday event.
In the gym of First United Church on William Street in Waterloo, volunteers cut and folded meter-long sheets of plastic and packaged a series of simple but vital items to ensure women in Lesotho can have a more sterile environment when giving birth.
The kits included items such as soap, gauze and gloves.
“Each of these kits is improving the lives of three people, because the mom has a better chance of having a safe birth, the midwife is protected in case there’s an issue with AIDS and the baby has a better chance,” Omand-Naylor said.
Being on the eve of Mother’s Day, some of the volunteers took the opportunity to bring their daughters or granddaughters along to help out.
Hannah Farkas, 13, said it was a great way to spend the day with her grandmother Nancy Butler while contributing to a good cause.
“Knowing how many people die from things like this, it’s good to be able to impact the world in any way we can,” Farkas said.
Butler concurred, adding, “It’s just amazing that with all the technology we have today, here we are with the basics and it makes a difference.”
Still wearing gloves to protect the items she was packaging, Zonta member Jan Lehman said it was her first year at the event and she was excited to get her daughter, Hilary, 27, involved as well.
“I thoroughly like giving back to the community and this was the perfect opportunity to try something different,” Hilary said.
The pair also brought along two teenage girls they knew who were in need of more community service hours for their high school requirements and could benefit from learning about the challenges women in developing countries experience.
With every 100 packages completed, the group cheered for their efforts.
It was the seventh year the Zonta Club assembled birthing kits that will be shipped by the Mennonite Central Committee. Including this latest shipment, the club has made a total of 7,000 kits, helping mothers, their children and midwives.
Thanks received from a recent shipment to Haiti!