The Mother and Baby Wellbeing project was introduced by Gayle Berry, baby massage and yoga expert. Mirroring her own business, Blossom & Berry, the 6-week Mother-Baby Wellbeing course aims to give babies the best possible start in life, through education and support for mothers.
Coordinated by project manager Prince, the classes include positive communication and touch for healthy physical and emotional development. Valuable skills and knowledge of healthcare and first aid are also taught. A network of teachers train women in the community, orphanage and hospital staff. In 2016, the project began to incorporate a Women’s Enterprise Initiative.
Following the course, groups of mothers were supported to form co-operatives and received business training alongside a start-up micro-loan. The initial 3 groups started 2 bread ovens and 1 soap-making enterprise. These enterprises are on their way to becoming sustainable, and until then, LSU will continue to mentor and monitor the initiatives as challenges posed by the economy, agricultural seasons and culture can be met.
LSU runs Mother-Baby Wellbeing 6-week courses across 3 areas, and has so far trained over 200 women, who receive a certificate at a special graduation ceremony. LSU has also built and opened a nursery and Mother-Baby hub where courses and community events are held. During the hungry season, LSU has supported the groups from sustainable farms.
Gayle’s story, founder of The Little Blossoms Project.
In 2014, I turned 40 and decided I wanted to be able to give back the baby massage teaching experience I’d loved over the years. I started looking for a charity to work with, and provide free training and support to orphanages, so they could provide the touch that the babies crave and is vital for healthy development. Massage helps to support the development of the emotional brain in children, teaching them about the world and human relationships.
It was then I stumbled across Love Specs, the incredible glasses that turn lights into rainbow love hearts, and, generate income for Love Support Unite (LSU). That’s how I met Alice and Nina Pulford, two incredibly inspirational sisters, whose work has ensured powerful and lasting change in Malawi.
I decided to volunteer with a student, using my infant and baby massage experience in orphanages, I gave free training to the staff at the Ministry of Hope baby orphanage. Having seen the situation first-hand I came home and researched the challenges faced by children in Malawi.
“Since the early 1990s, Malawi, a landlocked and predominantly agricultural and rural nation, has ranked amongst the world’s 20 least developed countries on the Human Development Index….Poverty hits children the hardest and threatens their most basic rights to survival, health and nutrition, education, participation and protection from harm and exploitation” UNICEF 2010
I set up the Little Blossoms Project, working alongside Love Support Unite, which aims to harness the power of families and communities, and improve mother-baby health through education and nutrition, by providing women with skills and knowledge they can share.
I’ve taught, funded and supported five infant massage Nurture Ambassadors to teach six women’s groups, as well as hospital physios to whom I trained in special needs massage, as many children have cerebral palsy as a result of premature birth due to malaria. I also set up a sustainable farming project to provide food security for the women on the program.
What I hadn’t imagined was how much I could, and would continue to give. Nor how much joy I would receive back from this trip. I went from being a curious volunteer to knowing participant, to core LSU team member.
- £20 funds 1 Mother and Baby through our Wellbeing course
- £100 funds a Mother-Baby Wellbeing course
- £3000 builds a Mother-Baby hub