Sunday, 16 August 2015

Nepal Update

It's now more than 3 months since the earthquakes in Nepal that caused such devastation and loss of life and livelihood.  The Royal College of Midwives had just finished a three-year twinning project with the Midwifery Society of Nepal during which time we had formed a close working relationship. We immediately started a fund-raising campaign amongst our members and have raised a staggering £21,000.  Reading the messages on our justgiving page, and the letters and cheques that arrived at HQ, was truly humbling.  Some gave large amounts; musician Gary from Kent whose wife Annette is a midwife, put on a fundraising concert and recorded a special CD for Nepal raising £660; seventeen year old Emily, an aspiring midwife, held a tea party with her Mum and raised £121; midwives in Coventry did the Wolf run and raised over £500. Others could only give a small amount but the messages with their donations were poignant: 'A donation to help colleagues in Nepal help women safely birth their babies who will bring a little happiness in this sad time'  and 'this is Nepal's future'. Kathy from Australia, a flower-farmer, gave money because 'I would like all other women to have the same midwifery care as I was able to'.  Message after message, donation after donation, midwives and their friends and families baked cakes, walked, forfeited their retirement presents and dug deep to make a difference.  The campaign has now officially ended but you are still able to donate by sending a cheque, made payable to The Royal College of Midwives Trust, to Eleanor Shaw, RCM, 15 Mansfield Street, London W1G 9NH.  Please clearly mark your donation for the Nepal appeal. Personally, aside from holding a garden party in May I have been walking the North Downs Way, a 156 mile-long national trail near my home, to celebrate my 50th birthday and show gratitude for living in a place of safety.  I recently completed the first 88 miles and hope to manage the remaining distance over weekends before Christmas.  You can sponsor me here
At the start of the walk in Farnham, Surrey, on the famous North Downs Way seat with my dog Cracker
I am pleased to be able to announce that I plan to visit Nepal from 8-18 October (the funds for my travel will not come out of any money raised in the campaign).  Although I have made six trips in the past three years, and have been in regular Skype, e mail and social media contact with our partner MIDSON since the earthquakes, this is the first opportunity I've had personally to see how they have responded and to report back to the RCM on how the funds raised are making a difference.  I'll be helping MIDSON to review their situation and undertake some contingency planning.  I'll be sure to blog whilst I'm there.  

Meanwhile, thanks to everyone for all your generous donations. The RCM has now launched a new fundraising campaign for Women's Aid. Women’s Aid is the national charity for women and children working to end domestic abuse; domestic abuse is a significant factor in the ill health and mortality of mothers and pregnant women.  You can read more about the campaign and how to donate here.  I have signed up for the RCM's charity bike ride so it seems to be my season for fitness challenges!  

Dhaka Diary

I'm back in Dhaka (Bangladesh), five weeks after my last visit in July, to help facilitate the first ever online election of executiv...