CRIBS international is a non-profit organisation that provides accommodation for post-partum refugee mums and their families. At the moment our focus is on families who live in Greece in camps considered “red” by the UNHCR, who give the camp either a red or a green dot based on the amenities. “Red” camps consist of accommodation mainly of tents with dirt floors and usually have no electricity, no running water, no hot showers and no separate shower area for women. Clearly not a place to safely accommodate a post-partum woman or a new baby, and yet nearly 10% of the women in camps are pregnant and most will likely give birth during their stay in the camp. Our aim is to rent, furnish and look after the utilities of nearby apartments in order to provide a space for women to recover quietly in a hygienic environment close to medical facilities and where families can have a peaceful place in which to be together and welcome their newest member.
CRIBS started as an initiative by several independent volunteers who had been working in the woman and baby space in a camp near Chalkida, Greece. The idea was born (quite literally) with baby Ahmed, whose mother required an emergency Cesarian section. Clearly, sleeping on the dirt floor of a tent was out of the question for a woman recovering from major surgery, and alternatives needed to be found for during this crucial recovery period. While Ahmed and his mother were very kindly put up by a local family, the isolation from the rest of their family was difficult, and they returned to their tent earlier than ideal because of this. With approximately one in ten refugee women pregnant and the cesarian section rate in Greece at an astonishing (and we don’t mean that in a good way) 70%, it was obvious that a mum and baby flat would be a useful thing.
CRIBS International operates completely on the generousity of regular people making regular contributions. We may not all be rich, but together we can all make a difference! The health of these babies depends on their mothers making a speedy recovery in a clean location. If you want to give a gift to a mum-to-be who already “has it all,” we urge you to make a donation in her name and share some joy with a refugee family.