The Zonta Club of Long Island proved that a small act of kindness can make a big difference. A total of 500 birthing kits for women in Haiti and Nigeria were put together on Saturday by club and community members at the at the Martin de Porres Elementary School in Elmont. Joining them were Floral Park residents and club members Jean Gribbins and Lori Butera, and Andrea Dapolito from Bellerose.
Each kit contained the basic essentials that a women would need while giving birth in a rural environment, including one piece of plastic, one bar of soap, one pair of surgical gloves, one razor blade, three pieces of string, and three gauze pads.
“It provides a clean environment for women who give birth in unsanitary areas,” said Gribbins. “I ordered all the supplies and set up the work stations. At my station, we cut up plastic, folded it, put it in an enclosed bag, and then passed it on to the next table.”
These kits will be delivered in suitcases by nuns to associations that help women. Four hundred will be delivered to Haiti and 100 will be delivered to a health team called Project Uplift in Nigeria.
“We did this project last year, and it was a huge success. We have many Sisters in Haiti, and we sent them birthing kits last year. They were so thrilled when they got them,” said Sister Evelyn Lamoureux of the Parish of St. Boniface, president of Zonta.
Everyone’s goal was to help women in need, and Dapolito was certain that the birthing kits can help out in a positive way.
“It’s truly upsetting that these women have to give birth on a piece of plastic, and they have no other place to go. I know these kits can help out. Soap, gloves and the basics are necessary,” Dapolito said.
Being a Zonta member and advancing the status of women is what Butera hopes to exactly do with these kits.
“It is enlightening to know that I can support women and help them get out of a bad situation. I do this with dignity for my child, myself, my mother, and all women,” Butera said. “They can benefit from us giving this to them. It’s just the basics, but it can go a long way.”
The Zonta International is a worldwide organization of executives in business and the professions working together to enhance the status of women. To contact the club, email LiZontaD3@gmail.com. For more information, visit their blog at www.zontaclublongisland.blogspot.com or www.zonta.org.