By Grace Ellis, Tearfund New Zealand.
Pakuranga-based Kelly Burgess recently visited aid and development organisation Tearfund New Zealand’s new infant survival programme in Indonesia.
Indonesia has one of the highest infant mortality rates in Southeast Asia, and Tearfund is looking to change that.
Pregnant mums in extreme poverty frequently lack prenatal care, a nurturing home environment and access to the necessary medical and social services. Because of this, many mums in the world’s poorest countries watch helplessly as their babies die in their arms simply because they do not have access to the care they need.
Moved by this plight, hundreds of Kiwi women, including Kelly, have come alongside groups of vulnerable mums and their babies in Indonesia to provide crucial interventions during their first year.
“It’s been incredible to see New Zealand women rally around these Indonesian mums. The programme has grown so quickly. Since it began last year, we have grown from supporting two projects to five,” says Kelly, who is a church engagement manager for Tearfund.
“It was an amazing experience to see the project first-hand and find out how donations from Kiwis were changing lives in Indonesia,” she says.
Tearfund’s Mums and Bubs project provides prenatal and postnatal care for pregnant women, regular health check-ups and educates mums on the best way to care for their newborns.
“Wayan was a mum that stood out to me. Her son Giovani was born prematurely at 28 weeks – he only weighed 2.3 kilos. After he was born, she raised his right hand and saw that he was born without fingers. Wayan was shocked by this and sad to see him so small, she told me he was so tiny that he fit inside her two hands,” says Kelly.
Wayan met child survival specialist Erni when she was seven months pregnant. She came to her boarding house and told her about the Mums and Bubs programme.
“After he was born, I decided to join the programme. Immediately they gave me new clothes and healthy food for my family and lessons in baby care. I just felt so blessed. The first day I went to church I did not know how I would feed my family tomorrow and they said, ‘tomorrow we will have a hamper for you’. I couldn’t believe someone knew exactly what I needed,” says Wayan.
“I want to say thank you so much to the mums and ladies in New Zealand. You are the answer to prayers. Thank you for taking care of us,” she says.
Kelly is sharing about her experiences, the project and the women she met in Indonesia at a women’s event called EmpowHer on March 10 at Eastgate Christian Centre.
The event is a night of powerful short talks, delicious food and giveaways all to raise money for Tearfund’s infant survival programme. You can book a ticket at tearfund.org.nz/events.