Leelai Kpukuyou Browne Launches “Blakos Basket” to Provide Support for Underprivileged Newborn Mothers


Monrovia – Madam Leelai Kpukuyou Browne, a resident of the United States of America has launched the “Blakos Basket”, an initiative to give underprivileged newborn mothers assorted items to enable them and their newborn babies to have a healthy life after birth.

“Blakos Basket ” is a flagship program under AYOWEI, an organization Madam Browne established since 2010.

Speaking to FrontPage Africa via phone from the United States Madam Browne said the initial aim is to provide those basic necessities and roll out psychosocial counseling especially for under age mothers.

The Executive Director narrated that after she gave birth to her daughter she received a message from Totota, Bong County that one of her relatives had just given birth under a poor condition.

“This entire project (Blako’s Basket) was conceived one week following the birth of my daughter and me getting a call from a family member in rural Liberia who had also given birth but under very harsh and difficult conditions, I set my mind on providing dignity baskets with basic necessities to new mothers and their children in rule and disadvantaged communities in Liberia,” Madam Browne said.

She added: “My able AYOWEI team and I have been working tirelessly for months working out modalities and today, I am here to let you know that my AYOWEI  team has distributed an initial 50 dignity buckets to new mothers in rural Liberia.”

“Our sisters have started receiving psychosocial counseling and dignity buckets with basic necessities in it to help with their postpartum care and the care of their babies. Our initial target this year is 6,000 disadvantaged new mothers and we will love to work with anyone who shares our vision,” she said.

Narrating her story furthers by saying, “When you gave birth in the states you will realize that you think you are on a vacation, they put you in what is seen like a hotel room and give you a whole five stars treatment from the food to the service we had over nine doctors assigned to us (me and my Baby) directly.”

“I had all of these privileges and I gave birth under the almost care and the highest quality of medical attention without any complication, I still had all those cares only to know that another family member had given birth on a makeshift bench bed and two hours later had to leave the hospital and with a third-degree tear and never even got sew or never had a sanitary pad.”

“When you have birth it takes eight to ten hours for you to gain consciousness but two hours later she was kicked out of the hospital because there were other women who were waiting to give birth on the same makeshift bed she has just given birth on. So when I realized that, I said this is not right.”

“How I am supposed to look into the face of my child with clear conscience and a good intention but at the end of the day my people are suffering back home and they don’t have the basic necessity. I have always been this person who feels a great sense of moral responsibility. Nobody is telling me to do this or do that but I feel a great sense of responsibility to do for my people that which I know that is in my capacity and I have avenues and I can access to help,” she said.

According to her, she immediately dispatched her team to the Phebe Hospital in Bong County, the CH Rennie Hospital in Margibi County and the Redemption Hospital in Montserrado County to ascertain for themselves the problem newborn mothers are going through in those Healthcare centers.

“When my team went, 80 percent of the newborn mothers were under 18 years. A child is under 18 years, got pregnant and no man wants to claim it. What we have covered is much bigger than what we have set forth. We thought it was just a few mothers that maybe just needed to get small things but no -the psychosocial impact of these men’s action on these young women was much more devastating than any physical need that they may have wanted,” she said.

Building Transitional Home

Also, the initiative Madam Browne says her institution will build what she termed as a transitional home she says will train women with basic life skills to improve their lives.

“We have decided to build a transition home for underprivileged women who have just given birth and train them with the basic life skills for eight to nine months and with that they will be able to do something for themselves,” she said.

Madam Browne added: “I have landed in Marshall for which I am going to donate and dedicate to this project because I want it to be part of my life work and honor of my daughter whose name is Blakos. Our mothers are dying in silence. I want international organizations to partner with us to make those interventions -those girls are not speaking out.”