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UbuMama

 

photo of embroidered image

Ubumama is an arts-based partnership founded in 2004 by Imagine Chicago, the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and Create Africa South in Durban in conversation with the World Health Organization. Its mission is to raise awareness and mobilize community engagement to save the lives of the nearly 600,000 women a year now dying preventable deaths in childbirth, almost all in the developing world.


Mothers in high risk communities are brought together with a midwife to share their stories of giving birth and are paid to create a beautiful garment in native dress embellished with their stories. Together they also compose a message to the world about their situation as mothers. While sewing, they are provided education on safe motherhood practices. Ubumama garments have been produced so far in South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, India, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Senegal.


Imagine Chicago has used images from the garments and messages from the participating communities to produce cards to raise funds for the project’s expansion into new countries and to magnify the voices of affected women. The hope is to expand the project to the top 30 countries that have the highest number of mothers dying in childbirth, and to use individual support to do so. The garments are available as a traveling exhibition to raise awareness and mobilize support for safe motherhood. They were on view at the UN on Sept. 25, 2008 at a special breakfast hosted by the Director General of WHO and at a special MDG service hosted the same day at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. For more information on Ubumama or to purchase cards, please visit www.ubumama.org.

 

 


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