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International Projects

Birthing in the Pacific
“Although the latest UN Statistics reported a trend that there are Birthing in the Pacificfewer women dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, globally there are still 1,000 women dying a day due to pregnancy and childbirth complications. That is like two giant jumbo jets full of women crashing down daily or 41 women dying every hour and yet no one hears about this. It’s not breaking news. But if a small 12-passenger plane crashes the news is featured on TV around the globe.” (Julie Marsaban, SISWP)”

This project takes international best practice and evidence and applies it to the local situation in Papua New Guinea – increasing access to both skilled birth attendants and functioning health care services.

In resource poor countries like Papua New Guinea, only 36% of births are attended by skilled health care worker. Less than 30% of women have a supervised delivery in a health facility. Increasing access to supervised deliveries and properly functioning health care facilities for women to deliver greatly reduces the risk of dying from complications.

Objectives of the Program:

  • Providing education programs for birth attendants at four skill levels
  • Ensuring that birth attendants have resources to enable them to practice efficiently in their daily care
  • Auditing facilities for emergency obstetric care and providing essential resources where possible
  • Supporting the PNG Midwives’ Society to ensure that registered midwives have an avenue to be seen as a professional body of nurses.

Project SIerra
Project SierraSierra Leone is one of the poorest nations on earth. More than 70% of the population are unemployed and live below the national poverty line, surviving on just 52p ($1 USD) a day. Life expectancy for women is 42 years and nearly a third of all children die before their fifth birthday.In 2003 the country celebrated its first year of peace in over a decade. During the ten-year civil war 500,000 people were murdered, raped or left with horrific injuries and over half the population was made homeless. Vital services such as health, social care, water and sanitation still remain deeply affected.
Communities are now trying to rebuild their social and physical infrastructures. Starting again from nothing, they face the challenges of a population that is impoverished and traumatised. Lone women or frail grandparents head many households. Project SIerra helps disadvantaged women and children in Sierra Leone face their futures with confidence. By strengthening families at risk of breakdown, helping young children living on the streets return home and empowering vulnerable young mothers, Project SIerra will enable more children to grow up in a caring family environment – giving them the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Soroptimists STOP Sex Trafficking
STOP TraffickingSlavery exists in a variety of permutations, but all forms of slavery share some common characteristics: slaves are forced to work; are owned or controlled by an “employer”; are dehumanized and treated as commodities; and are physically constrained and unable to move. One type of slavery and exploitation that continues to proliferate at an alarming rate—and that has a particular relevance to women and girls—is sex trafficking/slavery. In 2007, Soroptimist launched a project to create awareness about this heinous practice with a special event on Sunday December 2, 2007, the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. Each year, Soroptimist club members place sex slavery awareness cards in visible locations throughout their communities—police stations, women’s centers, hospitals, etc. Soroptimists also hold various fundraisers and education seminars about this horrific issue.

Hamlin Fistula
Hamlin FistulaThe Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, co-founded by Dr Catherine Hamlin AC, treats 2,800 women suffering obstetric fistula every year.  In developing countries, the joy of parenthood is frequently marred in the aftermath of obstructed labour. Days in obstructed labour can cause a hole or fistula to the birth passage, the bladder and sometimes the rectum. As a result, the woman leaks urine constantly. She then has an offensive odour. Her husband will leave her and her family and friends will avoid her. Many a young girl with fistula injuries has suffered a fate worse than death, experiencing a life of rejection, separation, loneliness and “shame”. In 1959, two Australian doctors Reg and Catherine Hamlin, went to Ethiopia to train midwives. Seeing the plight of these poor women, they became determined to help them. They developed a delicate surgical technique that, in most cases, will result in a complete cure. Then they built the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. Since then more than 30,000 women have been treated and cured. The Hospital now trains doctors from other developing countries. The effect of their work is spreading world-wide, restoring new life and dignity of thousands of young women.