The ACT Region undertook a Service Activity of assembling birthing kits on Saturday, 26 May 2018. The Birthing Kit Assembly Day activity was organised jointly by the Service and the Young Adults Wings in ACT. This service has been undertaken for the past five years and this year marks the sixth for this activity. Since 2016, this activity has been ACT Region’s service offering to mark Guru Poornima.

The idea for the birthing kit project in Australia began in 1995 with Dr Joy O’Hazy, doctor and a member of the Adelaide Hills’ Zonta Club. In that year Dr O’Hazy attended the 5th World Conference on Women’s Health in Beijing where she heard a speech from actor Sally Field about how a birthing kit, costing less than $1, can save a life. Four years later in 1999 Dr Joy O’Hazy, devised the simple birthing kit which is still in use today and the first 100 birthing kits were sent to Papua New Guinea, receiving very positive feedback. Since then the project has gone from strength to strength in Australia, so much so that the decision to incorporate the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia was made in September 2006.

On a very gloomy and cold Saturday morning, the activity of assembling birthing kits commenced at 9 am at the Griffin Centre in ACT with 18 Sai followers. More than 50% of the participants were Sai Young Adults and children. 400 kits were assembled by this very dedicated group. These kits are intended to promote hygiene in childbirth and thus prevent the most common causes of related infections. Each kit contains items for the birth itself (e.g. plastic sheeting, soap & disposable gloves), for the baby (clamps and a blade to attend to the umbilical cord) and to prevent common post-natal infections (e.g. gauze to clean the baby’s eyes).

Over the past 5 years the ACT Region has assembled over 2000 kits and has thus assisted the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia in giving women a better chance of survival during pregnancy and childbirth in poor and remote communities.

This clearly demonstrated that activities such as these are a great way to bring our community together to make a difference. It also helps us to translate Sathya Sai Baba’s message of “Love in Action” into practice by working together in harmony and camaraderie whilst creating a resound in our communities.