A Light For Every Birth

By on September 1, 2021
Photography: 
image of the solar suitcase is from PWRDF
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PWRDF

For most parents-to-be, having light and electricity during their child’s birth is assumed, but for many in rural Mozambique giving birth in the dark is a reality. In fact, some women can’t even afford to purchase the candles or kerosene lanterns required by rural clinics, so choose to give birth at home.

PWRDF’s Summer 2021 Project—“A Light for Every Birth”—is helping mothers and babies in Mozambique by raising $300,000 to install 50 more solar suitcases in rural medical clinics without electricity. This project builds on the 30 We Care Solar suitcases installed in 2016 in collaboration with EHALE, Mozambique’s Association of Community Health. Dr. Laura Stachel, founder of We Care Solar, explains the suitcase at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeLRxfsq2d8

These suitcases are wall-mounted units connected to a roof-mounted solar panel, and ably provide:
• medical quality lights to ensure adequate lighting for surgeries such as C-sections
• portable LED headlamps to allow wearers to target lights where needed
•a fetal Doppler to monitor a baby’s heartbeat, in pre-natal visits, and also during birth
•phone charging ports to ensure power for emergency phone calls
•an infrared thermometer to allow for COVID temperature checks at clinic entrances

The solar suitcases, which provide light, save lives, and use clean energy:
• bring both moms and dads to clinics for pre-natal visits, curious to hear their baby’s heartbeat
• allow health care providers to resolve obstetric emergencies
• help moms have safe, clean births at night
•reduce maternal and newborn mortality rates
• provide safe, affordable power

A lifesaver for mother and baby:
For Domingas Joaquim, 38, of rural Mozambique, the solar suitcase has truly been a lifesaver. She credits a solar suitcase installed at the clinic where she gave birth in 2016 with saving her life and that of a baby that needed to be resuscitated. She says, “Without lighting, it would not have been possible.”  Your donation can help women like Domingas have a safer childbirth.

Donation Options:
• online at https://pwrdf.org/solarsuitcases2021/
• a donation to your Anglican parish designated for the PWRDF solar suitcase project
• a donation to a Ride for Refuge organizer at https://rideforrefuge.org/charity/pwrdf
• by purchasing Dr. Ian Simpson’s new book, Through Sheila’s Eyes, As I see it, from the poems and paintings of Sheila Simpson” for $20.00, available at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist office (PH: 709-634-2373) or online from:
chapters.indigo.ca  All proceeds will be given to the solar suitcase project.

Each suitcase—assembled, shipped, and installed, plus a replacement battery once
every five years—costs about $5,800. Donations for this $300,000 project will be matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000 until September 30, 2021.

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