Maria is a student midwife from Sumba, one of Indonesia's poorer islands. Due to the pandemic and floods in Sumba, her family lost both income and assets, and have been unable to make the final school payments. Maria can't receive her degree until the school is paid. Once she has her degree, Maria intends to return to Sumba to practice midwifery. Sumba's maternal mortality rate is higher than the national average and they urgently need midwives from their own cultural tradition.
Poorer islands in Indonesia have significantly higher maternal and infant mortality rates. These regions urgently need trained midwives from their indigenous communities who can practice within their own culture, blending cultural knowledge and skilled medical training, to help save lives.
Maria will be able to receive her certification as a midwife and return to Sumba, one of Indonesia's poorer islands. As she is from this region, she understands the local traditions and culture and can work more effectively to save maternal and infant lives. Maria will also serve as a role model for young Sumba girls thinking of pursuing midwifery.
One of the best ways to address maternal mortality "hotspots" is for trained midwives to live and work in these areas. One of the best ways to do this is to train women from the local culture, who understand how to work within their own culture to effect change, save the lives of women and infants with their training, and inspire other women to become midwives.