“Every year, 15 million babies are born prematurely around the world, affecting more than 1 in 10 births. More than 1 million of these infants die each year due to complications from prematurity, and many survivors face a lifetime of disability. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), prematurity is the leading cause of newborn death worldwide (estimated at 29%). In the majority of cases, these babies could be saved and have improved quality of life, with simple, cost-effective interventions provided at the time of birth.” –pebblesofhope.org
Q&A with Cheryl Chotrani,
founder of Pebbles of Hope
When I first heard about Pebbles of Hope, I knew it was a company I wanted to work with. Talking with Cheryl, my heart ached for the many young mothers struggling to help their little ones not only survive, but thrive. Here is a Q& A to get to know her and her organization better. If you or someone you know is a mother of a preemie, please share this with them. They have a wonderful mission and offer some great resources.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your organization?
Pebbles of Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping premature babies thrive through parent education. We develop tools and resources for parents to guide them on the simple ways they can help give their preemies the best foundation for a healthy life. We have recently launched the first module of our Thrive Guide – an interactive tutorial with video, graphics and audio narration. The first module focuses on nutrition, covering breastfeeding, Kangaroo Care and nutrition for lactating moms, and will be available on multiple platforms, including online, on mobile devices and in downloadable formats. We are also working on building a mobile app that will give parents full access to our video library as well as enable them to send questions directly to experts. Other programs include a mentoring program (scheduled to launch this summer) and supplies packages for low-income preemie parents.
Q: What is your vision for Pebbles of Hope?
Although we are initially launching our programs in underserved areas in the US, including rural communities and urban areas with high rates of prematurity, we ultimately aim to roll-out our programs internationally with a focus on countries in the developing world with high numbers of premature births. We will be translating all of our resources into multiple foreign languages and adapting the content for cultural relevance in each location. In the future, we also plan to produce mass media campaigns that will address key interventions that can help improve the health of preemies, such as breastfeeding, eliminating smoking from the home and protecting babies from common germs.
Q: What do you find most satisfying about your job?
As a preemie mom myself, I love that I am able to use my skills to help other preemie parents who unfortunately may not have the same access to resources that I had with my son. I truly believe that our programs have the potential to help a large number of parents, but even if we just help one parent give their premature baby a better chance at surviving and thriving, that would be reason enough to continue doing the work I’m doing.
Q: What can we (readers included) do to help?
We are always looking for volunteers to help with things like design, copywriting and digital marketing. We also have many opportunities for parents, especially those with preemies, to contribute to our blog. Even just helping to spread the word about our organization and programs always helps, as do donations of any amount. We encourage anyone interested to visit our website at www.pebblesofhope.org to learn more, or to find us on facebook or twitter.