News Release

Canberra Women Make Birthing Kits for Ethiopia

Women from the Canberra Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently joined forces with members of Zonta International to prepare 4,000 birthing kits for women in Ethiopia.

The kits are on their way to Dr Catherine Hamlin's Midwifery College in Addis Ababa. Dr Hamblin, who has come to be known as "The Angel of Ethiopia" because of her remarkable work in fistula relief, is working to have a midwife in every village in Ethiopia. These village midwives will use the birthing kits produced in Canberra.

Each kit consists of:
• a piece of plastic
• 3 pieces of string
• some gauze
• a scalpel
• a pair of surgical gloves
• bar of soap
• a Chux wipe

The total cost is $2.50 per kit. The simple items allow greater safety and sterility for newborns and their mothers.

150 volunteers worked at the Lyneham meetinghouse to assemble the kits, each bringing a small contribution to the project. Money for the rest of the needed things was donated by community members. The Church and Zonta have prepared kits for several years now, each year increasing and reaching their target goal.

"It was a truly magn ificent effort by the Canberra community," said Penny Ponder, Zonta Project manager. "We hope to have a similar project next year."

John Larkin, President of the Canberra Stake, sees the endeavour as a practical way to help families in a third world country. "The family remains the most important unit in every society," he said. "The future strength of Ethiopia, just like Australia's, is closely linked to the strength and wellbeing of its families."

Zonta International is a world- wide organization of executives in business and the professions working together to advance the status of women.

One of the purposes of Relief Society—the women's organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—is to seek out and help those in need.


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