With Rohey Jadama
Welcome to another edition of Children’s Corner. In today’s edition, we are featuring an interview with Ms. Sarah Musa, the founder of Prospect In Mummy’s Tummy (PIMT), an international foundation in the Gambia and Sierra Leone. She will be talking about the genesis of her foundation, its accomplishments and how it intends to expand to the other regions of the Gambia.
Children’s Corner: Can you introduced yourself to our esteemed readers?
Sarah: My name is Sarah Musa and I am a twenty-one year old student currently studying Nursing at James Madison University in USA. My mother is from the Gambia and my father is from Sierra Leone. I was born in Germany in the year 1993. I started my education in Sierra Leone at Tower Hill Kindergarten Primary School and relocated to the US where I completed my primary education at Kings Glen Elementary School. For middle school, I attended Washington Irving Middle School and completed my high school education at West Springfield High School. My passion was birthed out in high school. I am the founder and President of Prospect in Mummy’s Tummy (PIMT), an international foundation in the Gambia and Sierra Leone geared towards the improvement in the life status of children on a sustainable basis which was launched in Gambia on the 30th May, 2015 at Paradise Suites Hotel. The target group of the foundation is the underprivileged women who cannot afford the basic essential items for their new unborn babies. Due to poverty, especially in some developing countries, some expectant mothers cannot afford even the most basic items for their children.
Children’s Corner: You have dedicated yourself in helping expectant mothers and children. What is the motivation behind this?
Sarah: My motivation to help women and children started out in high school. During my second year in high school, I co-started a chapter club called Girls Learn International (GLI). GLI, which has its headquarters in California, USA, educates and energises USA students for girls’ access to education. It has chapters in USA middle and high schools and they partner with schools in countries where girls lag behind boys in access to education.
Through this club, I learned about the struggles that girls had to endure and as a result, those struggles hindered their chances of getting an education. Some of these struggles included poverty, early child marriage, and cultural preference of educating a boy over a girl. In addition to raising awareness for girls to get an education, I realized that I am interested in the labor and delivery field. One of my motivations of working in this field is due to the celebration that happens in the delivery room upon the arrival of a new born baby. I like to surround myself in a positive atmosphere and with the labor and delivery field, it makes me put on my cheering voice and help cheer the mother as she pushes her baby out. Unfortunately, the infant mortality rate is very high in developing countries. Many of these deaths are related to the lack of adequate medical and nursing interventions at the time of birth. Consequently, with the availability of funding, as one of its long term goals, PIMT plans on building clinics to ensure that women have a safer delivery and produce healthy babies.
PIMT also has an education component wherein we plan on building schools to enable more children have access to education.
Children are Corner: How Many Baskets of Love did you distribute so far since inception?
Sarah: With PIMT International, we show our heart-felt love to the newly born babies by donating gifts in baskets to the expectant mothers. These gifts, which we call baskets of love or babies first kits, contain the essential items that the newly born baby needs upon delivery.
Our target is the underprivileged women who cannot afford the basic essential items. We know that due to poverty, especially in some developing countries, some expectant mothers cannot afford even the basic items for their children.
Donation of the Baskets of Love by PIMT will not only assist the under privileged, but will also encourage the pregnant women to go to the hospitals or health centers for delivery. The provision of routine medical care as well as visits to the health clinics or hospitals will result in healthy moms, health babies and healthy nations, which is in accordance with our slogan.
Our goal is to deliver up to 400-500 baskets of Love yearly. And TODAY, I am pleased to inform you that we have attained our goal of having delivered 400 baskets within this one year of our operation. To date, distributions of the baskets of love that have been done are as follows:
We have distributed a total of 129 Baskets of Love in the United States and our targets are the underprivileged. The Pediatric department of Howard University Hospital in the Washington, District of Colombia has received a total of 80 Baskets of Love. The Harrisonburg Hand In Hand resource center has received 25 Baskets of Love. In addition, 24 Baskets of Love were given to individuals who were pregnant.
We have shipped a total of 170 baskets of love here in the Gambia. We have shipped a total of 100 baskets of love to Sierra Leone One basket has been shipped to Canada .That makes a Grand total of 400 Basket of Love from PIMT In addition to the health sector, PIMT also has an education sector.
Children’s Corner: You doing great, but how does PIMT gets its funding?
Sarah: Basically, my parents are the people that funded all this items that I distributed. However, with the availability of funding and logistical support, we plan to expand our activities to the rural area. We cannot do this alone, we need the support, cooperation and collaboration of donors, government and all the stake holders concerned, so that we can achieve our objectives of improving the health status of women and children and thus help reduce the infant and maternal mortality rates in the country.
Children’s Corner: What are some of the challenges that children face in your community and its surrounding?
Sarah: Some of the challenges that children face and that prevents them from reaching their full potential include: lack of education, poverty, early child marriage and lack of motivation. Education is important because it opens up doors of opportunities later on in life. For instance, it increases the chances for one to fulfill one’s goals in life and to realise one’s dream. Poverty does prevent children from getting an education, because parents are unable to pay the school fees due to the fact that survival takes a higher priority. There are studies that show that girls who get married at a young age have a lower chance of finishing their education. As a result, some of them are unable to read or write. Furthermore, they are not able to get the jobs that they want. A lack of motivation comes from not understanding the value of an education and how it can help enhance an individual’s life.
Children’s Corner: FGM, continues to be the most sensitive abuse topic in our society and it is a serious human rights abuse in the Gambia. As a student nurse, how will you advocate for its eradication?
Sarah: My focus is more on the education for all children, especially girls. I do believe that to eradicate FGM it starts with education at home. The education should consist of what FGM is and the risks that it can cause. FGM is a practice that is rooted in tradition and has taken place for generations. Consequently, for it to be eradicated, it will take a lot of health education, resources and sensitizing the public about the harmful effects of such traditional practices. Therefore, the families, traditional women, and communities all have to be involved.
Children’s Corner: A woman dies from complications in childbirth every minute – about 529,000 each year — the vast majority of them in developing countries. How can PIMT help to eradicate this?
Sarah: PIMT plans to help reduce the maternal mortality rate by providing the baskets to the pregnant women. This is an incentive for them to go and deliver at the hospital instead of delivering at home. The home births do cause high infant and/ or maternal mortality rates. In addition, PIMT plans on building clinics for women to get information about their health and what to expect during their pregnancy. Furthermore, PIMT plans on providing nutrition (rice, beans) and pre-natal vitamins for the mothers to ensure that the babies and mothers are healthy. In our clinic, we plan on providing education to the mothers and young girls about HIV/AIDs and pregnancy. In addition, we plan on providing mosquito nets for the mothers to help prevent them from getting malaria during their pregnancy. We do NOT have ANY funding right now and my mother is the one paying for the items. When we do have donors we will be able to implement our plans and help more people.
Children’s Corner: On my final question. What intentions or plans do you have in the pipeline with regards to your work as an advocate?
Sarah: My plans as an advocate are for people to be aware of the values of women and how educating them plays a vital role in the community. As the saying goes “If you educate a boy, you educate an individual. If you educate a girl, you educate a community.” So let’s educate girls.
Children’s Corner: Thank You for granting us an interview.
Sarah: The pleasure is mine.