Each week our sister organization in the US, CHEER, nominates a breastfeeding CHAMPion of the week. This week’s ChAMPion is a special young woman living in Greece. “Elise” (name changed to protect confidentiality) is a refugee living in an Athens shelter, with her husband and baby. The family sought refuge here from the ongoing war in their African homeland.
Not only is Elise dedicated to breastfeeding, but her willingness to share and help her fellow residents at the shelter has dramatically impacted her peers. Right now, 83% of all African women at the shelter are exclusively breastfeeding (compared to 40% among women from other regions of the world), in large part because Elise has supported them from the moment their babies were born.
CHEERing visits the shelter weekly to weigh and measure all the babies, and to offer nutrition support. All the mothers tell us that they are breastfeeding because it is healthiest for their babies, and because Elise has helped them. CHEERing applauds Elise for her commitment to breastfeeding and to helping other women in the shelter. This is a shining example of the effectiveness of peer-based breastfeeding support.
Thanks to a grant from Help Refugees, CHEERing now has funds to work one on one with Elise to offer her additional training, support and strategies to promote breastfeeding in her community going forward.