Last night, international midwife Robin Lim was named the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year, accepting an award of $250,000 for her non-profit birth clinic Yayasan Bumi Sehat in Bali, Indonesia. Maternally Yours, Sarasota’s Conversation about Pregnancy, Childbirth and Early Motherhood, recorded an exclusive interview with Robin just days before her win, and will air the interview on Tuesday, December 13th, on Sarasota’s community radio station, WSLR 96.5 LPFM.
“To say I am thrilled for her is the understatement of the century,” says Maternally Yours co-hostess Ryan Stanley. “This win will make real change for mothers and babies in Indonesia and worldwide—mothers and babies will live and thrive because of this award.”
Since 2005, Robin Lim’s clinic Bumi Sehat (translated as Healthy Earth) has treated nearly 113,000 patients and delivered nearly 4,000 babies for free in Bali, where rates of postpartum hemorrhage and maternal and infant mortality are among the highest in the world. “Ibu” (Mother) Robin is a midwife, well-known author and talented poet who has dedicated the last 13 years of her life to this clinic, despite constant financial, cultural and geographic challenges.
“The earthquake that we just had last month…was big enough that we have cracks in the building. The floor started to rise up in one of the birth rooms because of the movement underneath the ground. About twenty minutes after one of our moms gave birth, the floor actually exploded,” Robin told Maternally Yours last Wednesday. “When that happened, I committed in my heart to winning. Should we be gifted that money…from CNN on Sunday night, it will go toward building that clinic.”
Speaking from the Texas home of her daughter Deja Bernhardt (who directed the film Guerrilla Midwife about Robin’s work), Robin told Maternally Yours how she was feeling en route to Los Angeles to find out if she would be named CNN Hero of the Year. “I would say that nervous is one good word; I think it’s because it’s so much bigger than me,” said Robin. “I feel like this is the time for people to come out and vote for the concerns of mothers and babies and children, and that woman-to-woman, midwife-to-mother model of care.”
And, for eleven weeks straight, people voted.
During her acceptance speech last night, Robin Lim made a tearful plea for the world’s help in reducing maternal and infant mortality.
"Today on our Earth, 981 mothers in the prime of their life will die—and tomorrow again, and yesterday," said Robin. "We don't even know how many babies are lost, but all of us can help change that. The very best way that I know is to support your midwifery to mother care, so that the midwives can help lower the risks of motherhood, and we can save lives together—mothers and babies.”
Robin Lim is a friend and listener of Maternally Yours, which seeks to educate and inform women and families about the options, support, and evidence-based best practices available to them in maternal-child healthcare. “What you’re doing…is an exciting thing,” said Robin. “In this day and age, we’ve lost that radio medicine. You’re bringing it back in a beautiful way.”
To hear the exclusive Maternally Yours interview with 2011 CNN Hero of the Year Robin Lim, please tune into WSLR 96.5 LPFM Tuesday evening, December 13, at 6:00pm. The program is also available via live streaming on wslr.org, and podcast at podomatic.com/profile/maternallyyoursradio. For more information, please contact the hostesses of Maternally Yours at MaternallyYoursRadio@gmail.com.
About Maternally Yours: Maternally Yours is Sarasota's Conversation about Pregnancy, Childbirth and Early Motherhood. The Conversation airs on Tuesday nights at 6:00pm on YOUR Community Radio Station, WSLR 96.5 LPFM. The hostesses of Maternally Yours are Cheryl Kindred, Carmela Pedicini, Ryan Stanley and Laura Gilkey. The mission of Maternally Yours is to educate and inform our community about the options, support, and evidence-based best practices available to them in maternal-child healthcare.
About Bumi Sehat: Founded in 1995, Bumi Sehat is a non-profit, village-based organization that runs two by-donation community health centers in Bali and Aceh, Indonesia. We provide over 17,000 health consultations for both children and adults per year. Midwifery services to ensure gentle births is at the heart of Bumi Sehat and our clinics welcome approximately 600 new babies into the world each year. For more information, please visit www.balibumisehat.org.
About WSLR 96.5 LPFM: WSLR is an innovative, listener-supported, non-profit, non-commercial FM radio station dedicated to serving the Sarasota community. WSLR features locally produced programming and presents cultural, artistic, and political perspectives currently underrepresented in the media. Our goal is to inform and empower listeners to play an active role in WSLR and in their community. WSLR’s programming promotes equality, peace, sustainability, democracy, and social and economic justice. For more information, please visit www.wslr.org.