Bedford School boys launch campaign to help African mothers give birth safely

The students were moved to action after discovering maternal mortality rates were so high

By Clare Turner
Friday, 1st October 2021, 12:24 pm

Six Bedford School students have set up a fundraising campaign to help reduce the number of mothers dying in childbirth in South Sudan.

James Cutler, Harry Hine, Ethan Ofosu, Maxwell Martin, David Adeyemi-Abere and Yonathan Sileshi were shocked when they discovered maternal mortality rates were so high in the country and vowed to do what they could to help.

The idea of the campaign - called DROP - is to provide care packages to pregnant women containing hygiene products, enabling more sterile births to take place, reducing the number of deaths as a result of infection.

The Bedford School DROP boys (Picture courtesy of Bedford School)

DROP - which has so far raised more than £1,300 - reached the finals of the Global Social Leaders’ 2021 Global Goals Competition where the boys were ‘highly commended’ for their intuitive initiative.

James said: “We chose South Sudan as the country to focus on as it currently has the highest maternal mortality rate of any country in the world.

“It is estimated that there are 789 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births; so we hope that our packages will help reduce this number and allow more children to grow up with a mother figure around.”

Harry added: “Having a happy and privileged upbringing and a healthcare system that is often taken for granted, we felt it was necessary to step outside of this lifestyle and help others.

Mary - a pregnant mother in South Sudan who received a DROP care package (Picture courtesy of Bedford School)

“Every child should have a mother figure for a chance of a happy upbringing.”

The upper sixth formers say they are committed to carrying on with the project for as long as possible while at school and will offer the chance for other boys to take on the campaign when they leave.

Mary Achan, who is in her second trimester of pregnancy, was one of the mothers-to-be in South Sudan to receive a care package thanks to the campaign.

She said: “I really appreciate the support from the DROP team.

“I have been incredibly worried about getting these items, because of the high cost on the market.”