Work internationally to empower women while improving your own skills and providing a much needed service in Honduras
Dar a Luz Honduras is an organization devoted to improving maternal and infant health in Honduras.
Dar a Luz Honduras offers volunteer or internship opportunities throughout Honduras, in both rural and urban areas, for students and professionals in women's health and medicine. Our work includes midwifery, doulas, nursing, public health, childbirth education, social work, therapy, psychology, community, advocacy, fundraising, office work, public relations, and website maintenance. Anyone with a true interest in improving maternal and child health care will be welcome.
Activities vary from providing emotional and physical support to women labouring in public hospitals, to offering education to medical students and medical staff in hospitals and universities. We frequently organize childbirth and general education for women in Hogares Maternos (maternity waiting homes), women's groups, health care centres and regional hospitals, and collaborate with traditional midwives in rural areas to improve practices and maternal and infant health.
There is also the possibility of conducting maternal health research and projects for thesis work, public health practicums and independent study.
Different volunteer positions require different levels of Spanish language proficiency. Work in the hospital can be undertaken even by those with minimal or no Spanish. The main requirement for this work is that you come with an open heart. Other work, such as collaboration with traditional midwives or workshops in hospitals, requires an advanced level of Spanish. Please note Dar a Luz can arrange Spanish lessons if needed.
The volunteer opportunities and internships offered by Dar a Luz provide an opportunity to empower women while improving your own skills and providing a much needed service in Honduras.
Examples for Activities
Labor Support in the Public Hospitals
The experience of childbirth affects the life of a woman, her self esteem and her immediate bonding with the newborn. If the women experiences more support and love during the birth process, the relationships within familes will improve and women will become more empowered. It is something that seems so simple, but the effects can last a lifetime and be passed down for generations.
Labor support in the public hospital setting includes emotional, physical and informational support during and after the birthing process.
Most women receive no sexual education in school and receive almost no childbirth education. A large percentage of those giving birth at public hospitals are adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18, some of whom have no idea of what to expect during the birthing process. Basic, on-the-spot, childbirth education can alleviate fear by reassuring these women that their experiences are normal.
Policies vary from hospital to hospital; but in general, women face a variety of restrictions during labor, from not being able to eat or drink, to being restricted to bed (especially if their water has broken). Women labor in the same room, with very little to no privacy. Inductions rates are high, and epidurals do not exist. Options for physical support in this context can be limited. Massage, and gentle touch of any kind, are almost always appreciated.
Lastly, and most importantly, the need for emotional support in public hospitals is great. Family members are not allowed into the labor and delivery rooms in Honduras, and there tends to be very little empathy shown to women by hospital staff. Dar a Luz works to set a positive example for medical personnel through respect and consideration for women. A compassionate presence can greatly alter a laboring woman's relationship to her birth experience, and to her newborn. The simple offering of a loving and open heart is the most important aspect of this work.
Sexual and Childbirth Education is needed in many settings throughout the country, from the Hogares Maternos, to public hospitals and health care centers. Often pregnant women lack not only preparation for childbirth, but also a basic understanding of their own sexual anatomy. At the public hospital in Tegucigalpa, for example, 40% of laboring women are adolescents with very limited education. There, we have already established an educational program (complete with curricula and materials) and use volunteers to work alongside local nurses.
Give Workshops, Lectures or Trainings to Medical Staff and Students
It is possible to give workshops to student nurses and doctors at Universities and/or medical staff at Hospitals. The University in Tegucigalpa is particularly open to this. There, we have the rare opportunity to influence a new generation of healthcare professionals to approach birth and maternal health care differently.
corespondence, fund raising, organization, public relations
For more informantion please check the following homepage: