- Organized 33 Awareness Programs in 3 Months and Reached 3,600 Individuals
The Breastfeeding Friends Association continues its efforts to bolster its efforts to preserve the health and safety of children and provide them with a good upbringing by encouraging mothers to breastfeed their children, which is vital to the health of mother and child alike.
Breastfeeding Friends Association, a health-supporting association set up under Sharjah’s Supreme Council for Family Affairs, carried out 33 awareness, education, and training programs across the Emirate during the first quarter of 2017, benefiting around 3,600 people.
The goal of these programs is to improve healthcare in the United Arab Emirates and underline the role of breastfeeding in achieving healthy living for all.
Khawla Abdulaziz al-Nouman, Head of Breastfeeding Friends Association, said that Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, always emphasizes the need to contribute to the good upbringing of children and to preserve their health and safety. This vision is the core value and goal of the Association, which it pursues by spreading awareness, educating, and encouraging correct health practices in the society.
“Breastfeeding contributes to the good upbringing of children and to enhancing their psychological and physical health, in addition to boosting their immunity and protecting them from many dangerous and contagious diseases,” al-Nouman said
She added that when mothers commit to breastfeed their children for two full years – as is recommended by religious values and local and international health and scientific organizations – this makes the society healthy and secure, and keeps the UAE among the healthiest countries in the world.
The most prominent activity organized by the association was carried out in the first quarter of 2017 when it held an event to honor breastfeeding mothers on International Mother’s Day.
The event was held at the University College of Mother and Family Sciences in Ajman, where 40 breastfeeding mothers, both citizens and residents, were honored along with 27 volunteers and 19 sponsors who helped the Association raise awareness about the importance and benefits of mother’s milk.
In 2016, Breastfeeding Friends won first place in the 14th Sharjah Award for Voluntary Work in the category of Best Civil Society Creating Volunteering Opportunities, in appreciation of the association’s program titled “We Support Your Natural Choice.”
The Association held five forums for mothers, each involving a visit to a hospital to educate mothers about the proper methods of breastfeeding, as well as informing them about the dangers of formula milk. These forums and visits benefited around 100 women.
In addition, Breastfeeding Friends Association organized 29 house visits to raise mothers’ awareness about the Association, its goals, and the benefits of breastfeeding. These visits benefited around 35 women.
The association also has a support line, which is an ongoing initiative maintained throughout the year. The line has received over 130 calls in Arabic, English, and Urdu during which volunteer councilors provided support, advice, and guidance to mothers to ensure that they continue breastfeeding.
A total of eight lectures for spreading awareness were also organized in public venues, and were attended by 285 women and girls. Breastfeeding Fiends also held awareness activities in expos, festivals, and public venues, providing educational and health services to 1,900 people.
The association’s mascot “Mama Noura” participated in three public activities, distributing educational gifts and toys among children and pamphlets explaining the importance of breastfeeding to mothers and young women about to get married.
To help mothers, especially working mothers, overcome problems related to breastfeeding, the Association leased breast pumps to 88 mothers, in addition to selling 56 pumps for less than the market price. It also distributed hundreds of pamphlets, posters, and awareness materials among employees and visitors in eight governmental and private entities.
It is worth mentioning that Breastfeeding Friends Association was established in 2004 under gracious sponsorship of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. The Association strives to improve the physical and psychological health of children and mothers by encouraging breastfeeding, which is the best way to form a healthy familial bond and build a secure society.