It is fitting that during the Christmas Season, On December 11, 2011, Ibu (Mother) Robin Lim was honored as CNN 2011 Hero of the Year!
Robin’s honor is also a victory for marginalized childbearing women and those who serve them everywhere!
Every December, Christiandom’s most celebrated holiday honors an unwed pregnant teenager traveling with an older man who was refused a room at the Inn because they were of the wrong ethnicity. Thus, Christianity’s deemed son-of-God was born with little notice in a barn. Despite religious honor given the eternal story of childbirth under duress, there has been little public recognition of the real problem of inaccessible maternity care for the world’s marginalized women.
Robin’s public recognition as a CNN hero this recent holiday season marks a media milestone for the importance of women, babies and families.
Like many midwives the world over, Ibu Robin cares for impoverished, abused, hungry, poor marginalized childbearing woman. Robin’s articulate passionate voice unrelentingly brings these issues to public attention with gentility and respect.
Many congratulations to Robin Lim for her well-deserved acknowledgement!
Robin began serving pregnant and birthing women on the island of Bali years ago because needy women came to her. Robin did not intend to become a hero; she simply could not deny the women who came to her. At that time, Robin thought that minimal care was better than none. Beginning on a shoe string, with their own life savings, Robin, her husband Will, and a few close friends and family began a rudimentary service to provide no-cost midwifery care for the needy near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. She began attending homebirths on Bali’s dirt floors, eventually enough donations came to construct a clinic. For nearly 15 years Robin has worked tirelessly on behalf of the families dependent upon her care, often with little support and meager funds.
CNN “Portrait of Hero, Robin Lim”
Robin’s public writing and speaking on behalf of her passion slowly nourished growth of Bumi Sehat Foundation. By 2011, CNN’s team had narrowed their hero-finalists to a field of 10 heros, each are well-qualified altruistic award finalists,
Robin Lim was awarded the final “CNN 2011 Hero of the Year” $250,000 gift (in addition to $50,000 granted to each of the finalists). Robin’s nonprofit organization, Bumi Sehat Foundation International will use the funds for a much-needed expansion of existing services – clinics, birth centers and youth programs – in both Bali and Aceh Indonesia.
Bumi Sehat models low-cost health promoting care through education, support services, nutritional guidance, exercise programs, risk screening and transfer for medical intervention when appropriate. Funds and supplies come through donations.
Thanks to gentle consistent childbirth education and health maintenance programs, the majority of Bumi Sehat clients give birth with minimal or no medical intervention at Bumi Sehat’s birth center.
Robin’s nomination for CNN’s awared was supported by Christy Turlington Burns with her organization “Every Mother Counts”. Christy’s own harrowing experience with a retained placenta and life threatening post-partum hemorrhage, after a lovely peaceful birth, made her aware that other women in the world might not be so lucky as she. Christy thus founded her own organization to promote global access to maternal-infant care, “Every mother Counts” :
More information about Robin Lim’s work can be gleaned from the film Guerilla Midwife produced by her daughter, Deja’ Bernhardt :
Everyone in the field of maternity care hopes that increased publicity will expand access to preventative and gentle maternal-infant health programs.
Thank YOU Ibu Robin, dear old friend, for your contributions! You inspire us all, and motivate others to consider their priorities.
Society grows healthier from the micro the macro by beginning at the beginning.