Direct Relief Women Raise Funds for 5,400 Safe Births

An estimated 5,400 babies have a better chance at life thanks to the members of Direct Relief Women – a volunteer group that supports Direct Relief’s programs targeting maternal and child health – who raised $135,000 at their fifth annual Mother’s Day event held Thursday evening at the home of Eric and Teri Gabrielsen in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara resident Bobbie Rubin was recognized as the 2015 Direct Relief Woman of the Year for her passionate support of maternal and child health around the world.

“For many women in many parts of the world childbirth is a game of chance,” said Day-Stirk, in reference to the more than 289,000 women die each year from birth-related causes.

The most consequential intervention for reducing such deaths is the presence of a trained health worker, such as a midwife, during delivery.

Direct Relief has worked with Day-Stirk and the ICM to create a Midwife Kit containing all the tools needed to compliment ICM-approved standards for midwifery training and certification.

Valued at $1,250, each Midwife Kit equates to roughly $25 per safe birth. The funds raised at the Mother’s Day event enable this life-saving program to exist.

“This means that midwives will not have to be in the situation that they are in with no equipment and no commodities,” said Day-Stirk, addressing the realities that many trained midwives face in under-resourced settings.

Following Day-Stirk’s presentation, Andrew Firestone addressed the attendees, serving as the master of ceremonies for the Stand Up and Be Counted portion of the evening.

“Childbirth doesn’t wait for an earthquake, a flood, or a typhoon,” he told the audience, referencing the role of midwives in saving lives during emergencies such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the recent earthquake in Nepal.

This year’s event was made possible by a committee of over 25 members of Direct Relief Women and volunteers from the Santa Barbara Chapter of National Charity League, Santa Barbara City College Sigma Chi Eta, and Youth 4 Direct Relief. Direct Relief Women executive committee members Sharon Hughes and Kim Thomas served as event chairs.

The event was bolstered by financial support of event sponsors, including: Alamo Self-Storage, Allora by Laura, Daniel Gibbings, , European Wax Center, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Florabundance, Lolë Women, Montecito Bank & Trust, Morton Capital Management, Dr. Susanne Ramos, OB/GYN, Salter Family Charitable Foundation, South Coast Emergency Medical Group, Steve L Karan and Tessa Morehouse, Susan Burns Associates, Coldwell Banker Previews International, and Wyatt Technology.

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