Un Petit Bagage d’amour, the bedside association of pregnant women and street babies

A little baggage of love, behind this beautiful name, is a bad fact. When Ratiba Zahdali, from the Tiny-Menu brand, invited us to take an interest in this association, we were unaware of the daily fight this association is leading against the extreme precariousness of pregnant women. , mothers and their children.
Contacted by Al-Kanz, its president, a professional nurse, Samra Abaidia, agreed to give us an interview to present her actions and tell us why and how she “to help pregnant women and infant at risk., for a noble birth and birth ”.

Al-Kanz: Midwife, you have observed a reality that is hardly suspected by most. Can you tell us about it?
Samra Abaidia:
I am a nurse at a maternity hospital caring for pregnant women and mothers of children under one year of age, with medical and psychosocial problems. In this hospital, there is a lot of danger, mothers who do not have any welcome to their children. In 2016, it was a year in which many refugees were living in tents at Porte de La Chapelle, in Paris, including pregnant women in grave danger. I enthusiastically follow refugee discussion groups on social networks. It so happened that I went there to see for myself what these mothers were going through and to find out the needs there.

Al-Kanz: This observation is the beginning of the creation of your association. What was the factor that definitely convinced you to launch it?
Samra Abaidia:
I myself was pregnant with my second child, I was very touched by the specific situation of a young woman, who was expecting twins. Before he was admitted to our hospital, he slept badly. I had to move her to the maternity ward where she would give birth. When I invited her to pick up her things for childbirth, the famous maternity suitcase, she handed me a simple plastic bag, with a brush and toothpaste. She had no property with her babies, as I began to prepare things for mine, this suitcase we prepared with so much love and joy. I realized how unlucky this woman was.

Al-Kanz: How do you intervene to alleviate the difficult daily lives of these mothers, and their newborn babies, at serious risk?
Samra Abaidia:
I am extremely fortunate to be able to trust these amazing volunteers, very involved in this cause, dedicated, who do it with love and do not expect any reward; volunteers who spend hours and hours in the basement of the Saint-Sulpice church preparing real little love bags containing everything necessary for these pregnant women in extreme danger and their children: layette, warm clothes, hygiene hygiene products, diapers, baby carrier-when they leave the maternity ward, these mothers often have nothing to bring with their children and find themselves carrying it in one arm and their luggage with the other, without forgetting the famous Teddy!

I also think of the volunteers who work day and night behind their screens to respond to the many emails and messages we receive every day. I think of the social workers who handle luggage requests, of the people who volunteer, of those who make donations or make local branches of our association Un Petit Bagage d’amour. Imagine Constance who had just given birth back in the emails.

Al-Kanz: What are the emergencies you need to resolve as soon as possible?
Samra Abaidia:
on average, we distribute 150 to 200 bags per month for mothers sent by social workers from the maternity ward, refugee reception centers, 115, PMI centers (maternal and child protection) and others. association. So the cupboards are always emptied. Currently, we are primarily in demand for 0-3 month old layettes (bodysuits, pajamas, socks, hats, sleeping bags), strollers suitable for newborns and other baby carriers. Of course, we only took clothes and things that were in very good condition.

Al Kanz: WHAT shelter for these mothers and their children?
Samra Abaidia:
So far, we have seen the rise of families on the streets, with no accommodation solution, some of them with small children, even newborns. I allow you to imagine the psychological state and the distress of these children sleeping outside and going to school the next day as if nothing had happened, often empty stomachs.

I remember the first time, a few years ago, when we faced this reality. A social worker, who was utterly poor, asked us if we could provide prams to two families on the street so that newborns, only a few weeks old, would not sleep on the sidewalk floor. Shock!

Recently, a day center sent us a list of homeless families so we could help them find solutions. The “shame list”: homeless women, some with mental illnesses, some with disabilities, one with cancer … all mothers. Among their children, from infants to young adults, some are seriously ill, others are in psychological distress. One of them is autistic. How is this possible? Doesn’t an autistic child need specific landmarks to find even the same balance? What will happen to these kids wandering from hotel to hotel, from bus shelter to bus shelter?

To address the emergency, we launched a dedicated kitten to pay for overnight stays for these families. We want to keep things going right now. I will no doubt throw a rock into the pond, but I find it utterly scandalous that the State has not acted for these families who may not have the right skin color or the right origin. You don’t see a Ukrainian woman on the street with her children, which is a good thing. But we demand the same treatment for all refugees. We were scandalized by the testimonies of refugees of African or Eastern origin, who had to leave their hotel to make way for refugees in Ukraine. This is clearly not normal.

Al-Kanz: How can the Internet users who read us help you fulfill the missions set out in A Little Baggage of Love? First in the short term.
Samra Abaidia:
Preparing up to 200 pieces of luggage per month naturally requires the use of many small hands, from arranging donations to distributing them. Managing logistics, answering emails, giving moms an appointment so they can pick up their luggage, etc., are all tasks that Camille now manages to do a great job and Constance has arrived. last summer. . If you want to join our team, contact us! An hour every now and then, one day every week, every month, every year. Any help is welcome.

You can also help us by dropping your donations at the church of Saint-Sulpice (2 rue Palatine, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris), at our scheduled time, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For other days of the week, we welcome you according to the availability of volunteers.

If you do not live in Paris or the Ile-de-France, you can help us purchase diapers and hygiene products, pay for hotel nights or cover the cost of running the association, by sending your donations. to Paypal at this address: [email protected]

In short, you can contribute by donating your time, your money or even baby care articles, first-age clothes, baby food, hygiene kits.

Al-Kanz: and in the long term?
Samra Abaidia:
The needs of grief are not limited to Paris. The danger to pregnant women is all over France. We opened more than ten branches in France (Françoise coordinated all of this). If you want to join existing branches or achievements (Le Mans, Rennes, Lille, Vence, Bordeaux, Perpignan, Reims, Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand, Melun, etc.) or establish a new branch, again n ‘don’t doubt.

In the end, let’s just hope we don’t exist anymore. This will mean we no longer need to. Because if something is intolerable, it is the danger that will affect the most vulnerable people.

Visit the official website of Un Petit Bagage d’amour: www.unpetitbagagedamour.org

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