In 2007, life brought me to the labor ward of the public hospital in La Ceiba. I was dismayed and deeply touched by the conditions and started to support the women in every way I could. I worked long-term shifts, days, nights and weekends in the hospital and supported literally thousands of women over the years, volunteering my time. Childbirth education materials and programs specific to the culture of Honduran women has been developed.
Later, I traveled throughout Honduras to explore other hospitals and regions and to distribute the developed educational materials. I created midwife groups in the countryside, established relationships with hospitals and maternity care providers throughout the country, as well as introduced the concept of ¨doula¨to Honduras.
At the moment my work consistis developing programs and strategies to improve maternal health care, with a special focus on Respectful Maternity Care and Human rights during Childbirth, meetings with key position holders, introduce childbirth education in the health care system of Honduras, holding lectures and trainings to clinicians.
Dar a Luz Honduras
Back in 2009, I founded a non-profit association in Germany to support my efforts in Honduras. In 2010, I began the search for volunteers to assist my work, which is known in Honduras as Dar a Luz Honduras.
Through to Dar a Luz Honduras, thousands of women in Honduras have received empathic doula care during labor and delivery, and many are provided with basic childbirth education – services that were formerly non-existent. Dar a Luz reached to stop fundus pressure in the second stage of labor in the biggest teaching hospital of Honduras, which will have a multiple effect throughout the country. And other aims are worked on.
Dar a Luz is still a grass-roots organization that operates and relies on the generous donations of individuals and businesses.
The experience of childbirth affects the life of a woman, her self-esteem and her immediate bonding with the newborn. If the women experience support and love during the birth process, the relationships within families will improve and women will become more empowered. It is something that seems so simple, but the effects can last a lifetime and be passed down for generations.
Deep out of my heart thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who came to Honduras or who are helping from their home countries to support this work! A special thanks to all our local supporters. And thanks to all the wonderful people who are there with moral support and to all the ones who support with donations, so more and more transformation can happen.
Our activities are diverse, ranging from:
- Campaign for Respectful MAternity Care and Human Rights during Childbirth
- Introducing childbirth education classes in local facilities
- Providing labor support in hospitals
- Offering labor support/doula workshops
- Holding seminars and trainings to healthcare providers about Respectful Maternity Care and Human Rights during childbirth, as well as on topics such as avoiding episiotomy and stopping fundal pressure
- Providing seminars and tools for rural midwives and train new birth attendants
- Preserving the knowledge of traditional midwifery
- Improving the physical environment of labor and delivery wards in the public hospitals
“One of the greatest gifts about learning another language is that it provides key insights and perspective into one’s culture. For example, dar a luz, (literal translation ‘to give light’) is the expression used in Spanish when referring to a woman giving birth. What an exemplary phrase to describe one of the most precious moments in a woman’s life!”