IMPACT
06/20/2016 11:43 am ET

5 Ways To Help Refugee Moms

This year, for the first time since the start of the Syrian conflict, women and children make up more than half of migrants crossing to Europe -- and almost one in 10 of the women are pregnant.

Refugees and migrants everywhere face trying conditions, but mothers and children in particular are up against uniquely challenging odds. 

This year, for the first time since the start of the Syrian conflict, women and children make up more than half of migrants crossing to Europe -- and almost one in 10 of the women are pregnant.

Marko Djurica / Reuters

“Pregnant women were waiting until the last possible moment to go to a hospital to deliver,” Women’s Refugee Commission staffer Deni Robey told Refugees Deeply last week. “And then were back out walking within a day.”

The journey to Europe is arduous, and conditions in camps are often dire. For mothers and mothers-to-be in particular, caring for themselves and for children can be complicated due to a lack of basic resources, like food, clean water and healthcare, in camps and settlements.

Here are a few ways you can help refugee mothers and their babies:  

 

1. Support Midwives And Doulas Helping Pregnant Refugees

Volunteers provide medical help to a pregnant Syrian refugee woman, shortly after she arrived with her family on a overcrowde
Yannis Behrakis / Reuters
Volunteers provide medical help to a pregnant Syrian refugee woman, shortly after she arrived with her family on a overcrowded dinghy on the Greek island of Lesbos.

Women’s nonprofit Amurtel sends volunteer midwives, doulas and breastfeeding specialists to refugee camps in Athens three times a week, according to their CrowdRise page. The specialists give check-ups to mothers and babies, listen to fetal heart tones, offer support on breastfeeding and infant care, and accompany mothers in childbirth.

Their goal is to eventually establish physical “Mother-Baby Spaces” in the camps, staffed by specialists.

To support volunteer midwives and doulas helping pregnant women in the camps, donate here.

2. Help New Moms Safely Feed Infants In Camps

Nurture Project International (NPI) helps families in situations of crisis feed infants safely. In Greece, they build tents where new moms can rest and feed their babies, via breastfeeding or formula, in a protected environment.

In emergency situations like the refugee crisis, formula feeding can be hard to do safely, without access to clean water and with language barriers to instructions on formula tins, according to the video above from the organization. NPI volunteers help parents sterilize bottles and teats, and guide them on how to breastfeed or formula-feed safely while on the move or in temporary living situations.

To support refugee moms to safely feed infants, donate here

 

3. Give Diapers To Displaced Babies Who Need Them

A woman changes her baby's diaper, as migrants wait at the Greek-Macedonian border near the town of Idomeni, Greece.
SAKIS MITROLIDIS via Getty Images
A woman changes her baby's diaper, as migrants wait at the Greek-Macedonian border near the town of Idomeni, Greece.

Save the Children is working in the Greek islands, distributing baby kits with diapers and blankets to arriving refugee families, according to their website. They also run spaces in the camps and settlements for children to play safely and forget the trauma -- if only momentarily -- of the war and their journey.

“Over half of all Syrian refugees are children,” Save the Children Humanitarian Director Mike Penrose said on their website. “Conditions are proving too much for the weakest and most vulnerable babies.”

To help deliver diapers, hygiene kits and other much-needed resources for babies, donate here. A donation of $100 will provide a “new baby kit” with blankets and diapers for infants.

 

4. Provide Refugee Parents With Baby Carriers For Long Journeys 

Carry The Future hand-delivers baby carriers to refugee families arriving in Greece, according to their website. The carriers allow displaced families, who are often on the move from one country or camp to the next, to safely transport their infants.

“A giant ferry comes in with thousands of refugees,” founder Cristal Logothetis says in the video above. “[We] fit them with a baby carrier. It’s free. I don’t think people realize what an impact a baby carrier makes -- it’s vital.”

Last year the organization hand-delivered close to 7,000 baby carriers in Greece, according to their Indiegogo page. This year they’re hoping to reach 50,000.

To help provide baby carriers to refugee parents traveling with infants, donate here.

 

5. Donate Backpacks With Basic Necessities (And Fun!) For Refugee Kids

Operation Refugee Child distributes backpacks with basic necessities to refugee children and families, according to their website. The bags include tents, food, toys, coloring books, medicine, hand warmers, first aid kits, baby socks, pacifiers, and more.

The organization has delivered 2,500 backpacks to refugee children and families in Greece since February, according to the Indiegogo page. They aim to deliver 10,000 packs this year.  

To give a backpack with resources for kids and parents, donate here. A donation of $30 will buy a backpack, and $45 will buy shoes for kids.

 

To give to Syrian refugee kids, donate here:  

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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Refugee Children And Their Fathers
CONVERSATIONS