In 2007 Silvia Bahr began to volunteer in the maternity ward of the old public hospital in La Ceiba, Honduras. The first day in the maternity ward there changed her life. Conditions in the hospital were difficult, where eight to ten women labored at once in the same room and hospital rules are very restricted. She spent many hours at the hospital; on weekends and all through the night and supported thousands of women during childbirth.
Her work gave her insight into the health care and hospital systems of Honduras; their norms, hierarchies, potential for change, and lacks. As her work progressed, she started providing general and childbirth education to women, and creating and distributing educational materials to health care centers, hospitals and traditional midwives.
In 2009, she founded an association in Germany with the goal of improving maternal health care in Honduras. She traveled to many places in Honduras and saw a variety of needs in many other locations. Besides to work on to increase the presence of labor support in public Honduran hospitals, where there is an immense need, there are now many other projects as providing sexual, childbirth and general education in hospitals, health centers and hogares maternos (or ”maternal homes”). To multiply and sustain these effort there she started to search for volunteers. Dar a Luz now is collaborating with traditional midwives, organizing donations of needed materials to midwives and underfunded hospitals, and working in the education sector to organizing workshops and training to student nurses and doctors.
“One of the greatest gifts about learning another language is that it provides key insights and perspective into one’s culture. For example, dar a luz, (literal translation “to give light”) is the expression used in Spanish when referring to a woman giving birth. What an exemplary phrase to describe one of the most precious moments in a woman’s life!” Anna Blankenberger