I can’t believe that we have been teaching in Guatemala for 15 years now! And in these 15 years, we have taught over 1,000 nurses, midwives and firefighters! Initially we taught infant resuscitation and stabilization for nurses in hospital environments; but in the last 11 years, we turned our attention to the more rural areas of Guatemala to teach midwives. After several years firefighters and nurses who had heard about our training also began to attend our classes.
Baby’s Breath Project utilizes a program called Helping Babies Breathe which focuses on the first minute of life, or the “Golden Minute” in which a baby needs to start breathing. If they are not breathing, we teach the skills needed to stimulate the baby to breathe and/or give the baby breaths with a bag and mask. During the six-to-eight-hour class the participants are immersed in role playing on how to care for the mother and the baby. We teach the initial steps that go from a routine birth to a birth where the baby is not breathing.
In order for our program to be successful, we also feel that it is important to give them the equipment needed for resuscitation. Each midwife receives a backpack that has a resuscitation bag and mask, suction bulb, surgical towels, diapers, hats, umbilical tape, soap, thermometer and the Helping Babies Breathe reference book.
We are truly grateful for the volunteer nurses and doctors who have traveled to Guatemala over these many years! Their wisdom, enthusiasm and welcoming attitude is what generates our successful classes. We arrange for a translator for each of our volunteers and at times, if some of the midwives do not understand Spanish, we hire translators that can speak their indigenous language. Their help and friendship over the years is invaluable!
Of course, all of our trips have a price tag. 98% of our budget goes toward accommodations and meals for our team members; lunches and snacks for the midwives, firefighters or nurses who are attending our classes; transportation needs within Guatemala; the location for teaching our classes; the medical equipment included in the backpacks; and translator stipends. The remaining 2% of the budget goes toward miscellaneous operating expenses, outreach and fundraising. There are no salaried positions in our organization. All of our volunteers pay for their own airfare and are generous in giving up their vacation time for these trips.
We hope this finds all of you well. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers in January 2024 when a team of 11 of us return to teach in El Tejar, Guatemala.
One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
Baby’s Breath Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so your donation is tax deductible. You can also make your contribution through our website: www.babysbreathproject.org. We invite you to check out a 10-minute video at our website covering our trip in March 2023.
Meg Dornfeld, Director