We are thrilled to introduce our partnership with Barakat Bundle. We have pledged an ongoing donation of $5,000 from our monthly sales to support this extraordinary organisation to reach their goals.
Barakat Bundle is a women-owned, volunteer-run, non profit organisation dedicated to providing life-saving care and education bundles for mothers and newborns in India. Developed by medical and public health professionals, each bundle provides evidence-based items that are essential for a safe birth and a successful first year for a mother and her newborn.
In alignment with sustainability and women empowerment being some of our core values, the ethos of Barakat Bundle stood out to our founder.
“Giving really is the most magical blessing of all. We have so many opportunities to give in every moment. I love how ‘Barakat’ means blessing. Barakat Bundle stood out to me as an incredible organisation and I wanted to support the initiatives it has in place. Every child deserves a chance, and every mother deserves to feel supported.” ~ Megan, Founder of Daughters of India
See below our conversation with Barakat Bundle to learn about their initiatives in depth and why we are contributing a portion of our monthly sales to support them.
What is Barakat Bundle and why was it created?
Barakat Bundle is a women-owned, volunteer-run, non-profit dedicated to eradicating preventable maternal and newborn deaths. It is unacceptable that mothers and their children continue to die from causes the world has already solved. Barakat Bundle addresses the barriers to care families face, by our life-saving care and education bundles called Barakat Bundle that are integrated within existing health systems. Our approach leverages human centred design, evidence-based practices while integrating into existing health systems.
Who was behind the establishment of Barakat Bundle?
Barakat Bundle was inspired by the Finnish Baby Box. The country of Finland provides all families with newborns, regardless of income level, a box that contains basic supplies needed for a newborn. Conveniently enough, the box can also function as a bassinet.
5 years ago, while studying for her Ph.D at Harvard University, our Founder and CEO, Dr. Karima Ladhani got the idea for Barakat Bundle. She believed it was fundamentally unacceptable for mothers and newborns to die of problems that were solved for. Our team stands firmly behind the Barakat Bundle, and is always iterating so it can continually better serve mothers, newborns, and their families. Now we have a dedicated team of volunteers who run the business while also attending to families, day jobs, and school.
What is in the Bundle and how was it developed?
The Barakat Bundle was developed by medical and public health professionals. Through human centred design, the Barakat Bundle team conducted 100 focus group interviews over 2 years in rural Gujarat, India. During these focus groups, the Barakat Bundle team interviewed mothers, fathers, extended families, and community health workers to ensure all items in the Barakat Bundle were useful and culturally relevant.
This lead us to include the following items:
Medical items ~ allows for safe-sanitary delivery with the sterile delivery medical kit and provides simple first aid items.
General Care items ~ provides basic baby clothes including blankets, onesies, socks, caps, and mittens.
Giving Calendar ~ many of the families the Barakat Bundle helps are from lower economic conditions. It was imperative to provide something simple that would be used. During our focus groups, we found that nearly every home had a wall calendar. Therefore, we developed a calendar that has health education cards to inform families on important topics including: danger signs, clean hand care, breastfeeding, etc.
Giving Kites ~ Sensory development is critical for children of all ages. Our Giving Kites stimulates a baby’s sense of sight (through different colours and shapes), sound (through the securely sewn in bells found within the kites), and touch (through the varying fabric textures used on the kites). The Giving Kites were inspired by the festival of Uttarayan where hundreds of kites are flown to celebrate the harvest.
Giving Cradle ~ The Giving Cradle is a bamboo safety certified rocking sleep cradle. It was designed to exceed North American safety standards. It is lightweight and can be moved from a room to outside with ease. It has a 360 degree view of the baby through highly breathable mesh that also promotes proper airflow. The mattress is removable and waterproof which helps with common accidents. A removable mesh cover comes with the Giving Cradle to protect babies from malaria carrying mosquitoes. Malaria is one of the leading global causes of death in children under 5.
What is the process of distributing a Bundle?
There are several steps when it comes to distributing the Barakat Bundle. First, we work with local community health workers (commonly known as ASHAs) and identify health centres we can partner with. We train the community health workers on the items in the Barakat Bundle, important topics to cover, and the condition upon which families can receive the Barakat Bundle.
Once the ASHAs are trained, they are given a Barakat Bundle and visit families who are expecting a child. Here the mothers and families learn about the Barakat Bundle through home visits, which are done during prenatal home visits. The primary condition of receiving a Barakat Bundle is that families must deliver in a healthcare facility. With more rural communities, at-home deliveries are still common; however, that can pose health challenges. That is why we require families to deliver at a healthcare facility so they can receive the Barakat Bundle. This promotes a safer, more sanitary birthing environment, which can decrease deaths. Post delivery, the mothers have a postnatal visit in which they are given the Barakat Bundle and are educated on appropriate use and the items within it.
How many Bundles have been distributed so far?
Thus far, we have distributed 350 bundles to expecting families in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, India. We are proud of this considering the significant delay created by the devastating COVID-19 crisis. From the 350 bundles that have been distributed, we have trained over 70+ community health workers. Additionally, we have conducted around 1,350 home visits to ensure there is appropriate prenatal and postnatal care.
In what ways are the Bundles facilitating change?
The Barakat Bundle is important in the communities we work with. Looking back to 2021, we found that 99% of mothers are using the safe-sleep Giving Cradle throughout the day. 84% of families who received the Barakat Bundle felt it made a difference in their newborn’s life. 84.3% of mothers were motivated to deliver in healthcare facilities with trained medical practitioners specifically because of the Barakat Bundle and the Giving Cradle.
What are the future goals of Barakat Bundle?
- Our goal is to expand our outreach throughout India. We have ambitious goals to distribute 5,000 Barakat Bundles over the next 3 years.
- We want to train an additional 200+ community health workers to conduct home visits that align with the Indian government standards.
- We want to raise $250,000, annually, to achieve more sustainable growth over the next 3 years.
- Outside of these tangible goals, we have ambitions to increase maternal and child health education amongst low-income rural families.
- Next, we want to increase facility deliveries and further align the Barakat Bundle distribution efforts to align with Indian government standards.
- Last, we want to reduce preventable maternal and newborn deaths by increasing the quality of healthcare they receive.
“We’re on a mission to give every mother and her newborn a healthy start to their lives together.” ~ Barakat Bundle
As a volunteer-run initiative, the women behind Barakat Bundle deserve recognition for their selfless dedication. We agree with the statement made by Barakat Bundle that access to quality healthcare and education for mothers and newborns is a basic human right. We endeavour to help Barakat Bundle reach their goals to expand their outreach throughout India, to give every mother and her newborn a healthy start to their lives together.
“Every child deserves a chance, and every mother deserves to feel supported.” - Founder, Daughters of India
It is with great thanks to the loyalty of our customers and their decision to support a slow fashion label that Daughters of India is able to provide this ongoing donation.
Through supporting women empowerment, sustainability, ethical working conditions, fair trade, and giving back to local communities, together we are contributing to unified peace, love and connection with one another and the Earth.