At Thula Baba Project we believe that mothers are the key to improving lives for all. Mothers are the first nurturers and the first educators – which is why our program is developed around equipping them with the knowledge and tools they need.
The ThulaBaba Box takes inspiration from the Finnish Baby Box, a maternal package given to all new mothers by Finland’s Social Security. Research into the phenomenal success of the Finnish Baby Boxes in reducing infant mortality, shows that the process of the registration and the increased medical care, along with maternal education has had the greatest impact.
To achieve similar success in improving the outcomes for baby health and development, it also needed to be linked with increased medical care and maternal education. In the Western Cape – where co-sleeping is so much of a norm often for the whole family, and where mothers are also largely dependent on crowded public transport – the concept needed to be adapted to be multifunctional, and easily mobile.
The 4 guiding principles that drive our intervention are: Keeping baby healthy and safe, Early stimulation for developing minds, Good nutrition (from pregnancy, through breast-feeding to early solids), and Bonding with baby to create strong attachments. We believe these are key to developing confident children, who are able to learn new things more easily, and who grow up into caring adults with the confidence to take on leadership roles.
The items in the box are complementary to the content of the free courses given by partners. Our 25-litre buckets are tall, making it easy for even a heavily pregnant mom-to-be to reach the handle, and also impossible for a toddler to fall into it. Aside from the obvious value for storage and transportation – our bucket remains useful even later, to serve a stool or table.
The Thula Baba Project Board members are Katy Caldis, Caroline Isted, Julie Alexander and Trixy Lochner.
Our Board Chairman Katy Caldis is the Divisional Director of Health Product and Marketing at Liberty Health. Katy is also mother to three children. Her experience as a healthcare executive brings a strong strategic outlook and governance to our Board. Katy has a keen interest in holistic wellness and is always on the lookout for simple solutions to the health challenges in Africa. In her free time, Katy can be found in her permaculture garden.
Caroline is a program manager with a love of the outdoors and adventure. Having spent many years working on projects for Shell, she brings her skills of team and program management. It is Caroline’s interest in systems and change management that drives Thula towards an intervention that starts with motherhood and results in societal impact. Caroline is our Managing Director.
Julie brings 20 years of international finance experience into the team. As our Treasurer she ensures a sound system of internal financial control and her skills in financial analysis and business planning help us shape our future. A mother of 2 teenage girls, a passionate gardener and lover of travel – Julie can most often be found exploring new cultures and nature parks with her family when on holiday.
Trixy has many years of buying experience which she brings into her role as our Director of Operations. She was drawn to this project because of her interest in the impact of early nurturing on literacy. Trixy is married with grown-up two children. Her hobbies include doing short courses, reading and sewing.
Caroline took the lead on the Thula Baba Project in November 2017 and has since drawn the team together, having shared digs with Katy at UCT, met Trixy while studying at The Coaching Centre, and worked with Julie during a 20+ year career with Shell SA.
Thula Baba was entered into the Department of Social Development register as: NPO 205-933 Thula Baba Project in March 2018, and received Section 18a certification PBO: 930063992 in January 2019.
The Team envisages the Thula Baba Project as one that will eventually make a difference not just to individual children and families, but also one that has the potential to change communities and therefore our whole perspective of our “Mother City”.