Parenthood in the 21st century is challenging. And if you do not have your basic needs covered, a roof over your head and a vision when it will happen, parenthood becomes that more complex.
Aida Behrem, CEO of the Žene s Une organisation from Bihać says that migrant and refugee parents face many challenges – from being unsure when, how often and to what extent they will be able to provide for the children and their needs, to their own struggles regarding uncertainty of their travel.
As a response, since June 2018, the Žene s Une organisation, in partnership with UNICEF and Save the Children, have been implementing activities for children, mothers with babies and expecting mothers on the move, on the territory of cities of Bihać and Cazin.
Among other things, Mother & Baby Corners have been established in TRC Bira, Borići, and Sedra.
“This is where we provide mothers with advice and support regarding growth and development of their babies. We provide parents, but primarily mothers, with non-food items they might need during their stay or their travel. Those are primarily diapers and other baby hygiene products, but also hygiene products for mothers and expecting mothers.”
Several babies have been born to travelling mothers in the Bihać hospital so far. All mothers and babies receive necessary medical care of the Pediatric Department of the Bihać Community Health Centre.
“The mothers I have been in contact with were mostly asking questions, wanting to know everything a mother wants to know – breastfeeding, D3 drops, how they children seem to us, if everything is okay… Women I had the opportunity to talk to are mostly educated, and almost all of them breastfeed their children.”
UNICEF recommends mother’s milk as the best baby food. Every Mother & Baby Corner pays special attention to that.
It is also confirmed by Ms Behrem, CEO, who pointed out that the staff at the Corner recommends mother’s milk as the only authentic and complete source of what a baby needs.
Mother & Baby Corner was established as a part of the project titled “EU Support to Migration and Border Management in Bosnia and Herzegovina“, funded by the European Union with more than 7.2 million euros. The project is implemented by the International Organisation for Migration and Save the Children, UNHCR and UNICEF as partner organisations.
The purpose of Mother & Baby Corners is not only to meet the basic needs, but to offer support and dignity to mothers in hard times of their lives.
“The Corner is a place where they can rest a bit, have a moment of peace and quiet with their babies, or a place where they can hang out. Mothers can refresh here, have a coffee or a tea. In a way, it is a place for socialisation of mothers traveling with babies“.