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Posted by Mehrdad Ema on

Why I started Do Right

I am Canadian with Kenyan roots. I came up with the idea of Do Right as a result of a school project that focused on the maternal health problems faced by rural mothers in Kenya. Growing up I had witnessed mothers, too poor to buy clothes and blankets for their newborns, wrap them in used T-shirts and plastic bags. Apart from being able to dress and keep their newborn warm, I believe rural mothers should be encouraged to trust that births in the care of medical practitioners benefit them and their newborn. I also believe that the first contact between a mother and her newborn is special and should be enjoyable, comfortable and a moment of pride for her to cherish forever. The reality for many rural mothers is very different. Instead, they get little or no postnatal help and have no access to basic baby products. They have no clothes for them, no clean blankets, and struggle to afford soap and other hygiene basics. I decided that the solution was a 'postnatal bag' to be given to mothers, containing basic essential products and information useful to new mothers, which would also serve as an incentive to motivate rural mothers to choose the safety of clinic births instead of medically unassisted home births. I was encouraged by my teacher to take my school project’s solution beyond a hypothetical exercise and explore how it might become a reality. And I was encouraged by demand from clinics for an increased and constant supply of the postnatal bag, which their maternity patients clamored for, to produce bracelets for sale in order to sustainably fund the bags. This is how the 'Do Right' program got up and running. Ultimately, I hope most rural mothers in Kenya will choose the safety of clinics over home births. But in the meantime, doing right by mothers that we are reaching and the look of joy on their faces when we give them their bags makes us all of us at Do Right so happy.

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