ARKANSAS BIRTHING PROJECT
HISTORY OF THE BIRTHING PROJECT
Birthing Project USA: The Underground Railroad to New Life …is a volunteer effort to encourage better birth outcomes by providing practical support to women during pregnancy and for one year after the birth of the baby. Founded in 1988 by Kathryn Hall-Trujillo, Birthing Project USA is the only African American maternal and child health program in the country. It is often referred to as the underground railroad of our times.
While workers on the Underground Railroad lead African Americans from physical slavery, the Birthing Project feels that women who are "freed" to the point of functioning in our own society are going back and leading other women to "freedom", one by one. The program allows women who understand and are able to function within their perspective community to be a link between women who need services and those who provide them.
A major challenge in overcoming the problems that lead to unhealthy pregnancies and unhealthy babies is the mother's lack of knowledge or understanding about the causes and ways to prevent unhealthy birth outcomes. By utilizing the "Sister-Friend" approach, we hope to identify and address those barriers one community at a time.
Since its inception, the Birthing Project model has been replicated in more than 107 communities in 7 countries globally and ensured more than 13,000 babies have been born as healthy as possible.