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International Women’s Day celebrates women all over the world, highlighting women’s achievements in all professional fields and aspects of society. In doing so, the day raises awareness against bias and supports a gender-equal world. 

After taking its first steps towards rebuilding after an eleven year-long civil war, Sierra Leone was overwhelmed with the devastating Ebola outbreak which resulted in almost 4000 deaths and left over 12,000 children orphaned. 

The consequences for children in Sierra Leone continue to be dire, with young girls the ones that suffer the most with no one to care for them. Young girls were too often subjected to rape, forced into marriage and abandoned.

Mabinty (left) and Mary (right), both teenagers, were forced to leave their family homes and commence a life on the streets of Freetown after each was discovered to be pregnant.

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Although not an uncommon occurrence in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, there are little to no support structures in place for young girls in these situations. With little hope for their own futures, the girls’ focus is on the health and safety of their unborn babies. 

For Mabinty and Mary, hope is found at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre - a comprehensive maternity hospital that provides free healthcare to pregnant women and children along with skills and training to help women take control of their financial future after the birth of their baby. 

The Aminata Maternal Foundation helps fund the Aberdeen Women’s Centre and provides support to pregnant young women in vulnerable circumstances. At the Aberdeen Women’s Centre, professional health practitioners help the girls to restore their dignity and start planning for their future. 

Prior to coming to Aberdeen Women’s Centre, the future for Mabinty and Mary was bleak and frightening. Now with healthy, newborn babies, Mabinty and Mary are earning income-generating skills to become financially independent and have begun, for the first time in a long time, to dream of a better future.  Mabinty plans to one day become a doctor and hopes that her son will become a nurse.

The Aminata Maternal Foundation believes that all women should be allowed to deliver a baby in safety. We believe that teenage girls should be given an opportunity to dream big and build a plan for their future. We believe that each one among us has the power to transform lives for an equal and enabled world.

If you support these dreams, this International Women’s Day takes a step towards a more equal world and give to the Aminata Maternal Foundation. Making healthcare equal for women in Sierra Leone. #EachForEqual

Find out how you can continue to support more women and their babies future in Sierra Leone.

Do you want to hear more about Mary and Mabinty? 

READ THEIR STORIES

Blessing

March 5, 2020

On 9th January 2020, Blessing a 16-year-old girl delivered a beautiful baby girl. However, her story is one of sadness and shows the engrained misinformation around sexual and gender-based violence and the age of consent in Sierra Leone. Blessing from the slum area of Dwarzak in Freetown was happily attending school and studying hard, living […]

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Mabinty

March 5, 2020

Mabinty Conteh grew up in a village with her mother and father until her father abandoned the family when she was eight years old. When Mabinty was sixteen, a woman from Freetown came to her village on business and promised Mabinty and her mother a better life and a better education for Mabinty. After a […]

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Mary

March 5, 2020

Eighteen-year-old Mary Sesay was living with her older sister in Aberdeen when she became pregnant. Soon after she learned this she was told to leave her home because the space was too small for both mother and child. At this point, the father of her unborn baby became emotionally and physically abusive to Mary. Now […]

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Zainab (Aged 16)

May 24, 2018

We heard of Zainab before our trip to Sierra Leone in September 2016.  She was 15 years old and 37 weeks pregnant. She lives in one of the districts of Port Loko with her partner’s family. Six weeks later, when we arrived in Sierra Leone, Zainab had yet to go into labour, and had not […]

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Jakia (Aged 27)

May 24, 2018

We came across Jakia when we visited the Kroo Bay slum in Sierra Leone Freetown.  Jakia came running to us because she had heard that a midwife from the Aberdeen Women’s Centre was visiting. Jakia was five months pregnant, having lost her first two precious children.  Kroo is often described as the worst place in […]

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Zainab (Aged 37)

May 24, 2018

Zainab was brought to the Aberdeen Women’s Centre for fistula repair surgery by Aberdeen Women’s Centre outreach nurses, from her remote village in Moyamba District. She had been suffering with fistula for a couple of years. She explained to us when she went into labour her family was unable to take her to hospital and […]

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Let us virtually travel to Aberdeen Women's Centre during our 2019 visit - our CEO @aminata_conteh_biger with the Dream Team as pictured above

Here in Sydney as we find ourselves in an extended lockdown due to COVID-19, we can appreciate the access that Australians have to quality healthcare, warmth and shelter provided in our humble abodes (and the ability to stay connected via Zoom calls during periods of reduced face-to-face contact!).

In celebrating the 2021 United Nations World Population Day today, at the Aminata Maternal Foundation we are reflecting on how the rest of the world is managing with compromised health care systems. The area of sexual and reproductive health in particular is impacted as many countries are experiencing concern over changing fertility rates. United Nations Population Fund (formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]), emphasises that educational, economic and political empowerment of women enables autonomy and control over choices regarding their body.

Did you know, only 55% of women have the power to make their own decisions about their bodies? The current pandemic has exacerbated gender-based inequities, notably in Sierra Leone as the teenage pregnancy rate continues to rise. During the Ebola crisis, teenage pregnancies in Sierra Leone saw a 66% increase and it is anticipated that another surge will result from the COVID-19 crisis. To combat this our Dream Team project collaborates with the Aberdeen Women's Centre located in Freetown, Sierra Leone to provide support to re-integrate teenage mothers into their communities post-birth.

References for further reading🌏:
https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-population-day

https://aminatamaternalfoundation.org/mission/our-projects/the-dream-team/
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@breakingglasspod New Episode Alert ⚡ Aminata Conteh Biger (@aminata_conteh_biger) grew up in a well-off family in the capital of Sierra Leone where her father prioritized education and opportunities for his six daughters. She had a happy and protected childhood until a truly devastating civil war broke out in her country resulting in the deaths of more than 50,000 individuals. She herself was kidnapped for seven months before fleeing as a refugee to Australia. Aminata’s own story of survival doesn’t end with the war. After rebuilding her life in Sydney, Aminata endured the traumatic birth of her first child which ignited a passion for maternal health. The founder of Aminata Maternal Foundation (@aminatafoundation), Aminata has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and changed thousands of women's lives in Sierra Leone, which has some of the worst child and maternal mortality rates in the world.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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#AminataContehBiger #SierraLeone #AminataMaternalFoundation #RisingHeartBook #MaternalMortality #InfantMortality #Healthcare #HumanRights #WestAfrica #WomenSupportingWomen #LiftEachOtherUp #ElevateWomensStories #GenderEquity #BreakingGlass #WomenLeadingTheWay #BreakingGlassPodcast #EvokeMedia #Womanhood #GlassBreakers #GlassCeiling #Global #WomensVoices #WomensStories #BreakingGlassCeilings #WomenEmpowerment
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NEW RELEASE ✨Episode 3️⃣
Aminata Conteh- Biger is a woman, is a voice, is a presence, that every human needs to know. She is sunshine , epitomising strength and transforming any darkness she encounters into light. She has endured things that no person, that no woman should ever have to endure, and consequently, her presence in society illustrates that love and truth and shining pure hearts filled with goodness can and do and forever will, conquer. She is love in human form; a beacon of hope for us all.

@aminata_conteh_biger @gennachanelle

📸 @sarahfountainphotography @onelovefilmsbondi @zoltanfecso @jenna_pratt_ @innkeeperstudios @fujifilmx_au

🌟 In an effort to build connection and unify, @gennachanelle shares the voices of our earth angels - who are each deeply committed to healing our world. 🌟

🔗 https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/the-loving-podcast/id1564380858
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The former sex slave saving lives in Sierra Leone

She survived months as a sex slave and escaped to Australia as a refugee. Aminata Conteh-Biger can't change the past but now she's ready to help the future of her homeland, which has become the world's most dangerous place to give birth. (An SBS Production) CC #DaughterofSierraLeone #DatelineSBS #Documentary

*** SBS Dateline’s Daughter of Sierra Leone has won a New York Festivals International TV and film silver award in the Health/Medical Information category. ***

A must-see documentary. To watch the full-length episode, copy this link into your computer’s internet browser: https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/881784387906/dateline-s2017-ep4-daughter-of-sierra-leone
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We are very excited to announce the five contest winners of the poignant, humanistic memoir 'Rising Heart' & we wish you all a great read: @littlebisous @kirsty_brooke @uglyflatlaysx @lifewlinda @karthika.menon 💖💖💐

Congrats to everyone who participated! Let us express our gratitude, heartfelt thanks and appreciation to every one of you for the part you played and continue to play in fulfilling Aminata's vision and our organisation’s mission. Each day we are getting closer to our goals and by purchasing a copy of the book, you contribute to improving maternal and newborn healthcare in Sierra Leone.

We invite our winners to write to us by private and direct message on Instagram to provide us with their full name and delivery details x
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This is Alice’s hospital bag. Alice is a 30 year-old single mother living in poverty in Freetown. She came to the Aberdeen Women’s Centre to give birth. When she arrived she found out that she was expecting twins which made her labour more far more dangerous and complicated. Thankfully, Alice was able to safely deliver her two beautiful twins. However, we want to draw your attention to Alice’s hospital bag. She simply arrived with a plastic bag. Inside the bag was a single blanket, a plate and a shirt.
In Sierra Leone, 1 in 8 mother’s die from child birth. In Australia, this figure is 1 in 8700. This devastating statistic highlights the reality for so many mother’s and babies in Sierra Leone. With your help, we can start to put an end to infant mortality in Sierra Leone. Motherhood should mark a beginning, not an end.
#amfmumsofmay #aminatamaternalfoundation #mothersday #hospitalbag #sierraleone
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𝐆𝐈𝐕𝐄𝐀𝐖𝐀𝐘 𝐓𝐈𝐌𝐄!

For the month of May, we celebrate all mums 🤍 no matter what form they take, in all their care and nurturing of others or any form of terrestrial life.

We are giving away up to 5 copies of Rising Heart as a prize for both the winners and the winning tagged account(s).

To enter, tag anyone who is a supportive light in your life, like, share and follow our account @aminatafoundation.

Enter as many times as you like on each account’s posts this month. 1 tag per comment, 1 comment per entry.

Winners will be drawn and notified after Mother’s Day. This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by Instagram. If you get contacted that you are the winner of this competition, please check to make sure the account contacting you is legitimate before giving out any personal details.

𝐏𝐚𝐧 𝐌𝐚𝐜𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐧 𝐀𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐚 𝐱 𝐀𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐚 𝐌𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 @aminata_conteh_biger #AMFMumsofMay #mothersday #mumsofaustralia #motherhood #abcmyphoto

( Australian Book Designer: Debra Billson )
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