Priyanka Raina, wife of cricketer Suresh Raina, talks about her recent initiative to help underprivileged mothers.
Childbirth is a life-changing experience for every woman. But what is often ignored is the physical and mental health of the mother during and post pregnancy. With an aim to work towards physical wellness of mother and child by providing the mother with knowledge and information about pregnancy, child care post birth and nutritional needs to keep them healthy, Indian batsman Suresh Raina and his wife Priyanka recently launched the Gracia Raina Foundation. The foundation also aims to impart skills to underprivileged mothers to enable them to earn a livelihood.
The proud parents made the announcement on the occasion of their daughter Gracia’s first birthday. Talking about the initiative, Priyanka says, “The Gracia Raina Foundation is dedicated to creating awareness and working closely with mothers and children who require help ranging from physical to mental issues. It covers a vast field and is driven to ensure the well-being of mothers and children while also providing them opportunities for a sustainable livelihood.”
Priyanka, who has been working with various NGOs helping underprivileged women in the past, shares that becoming a mother made her realise the various phases a new mother undergoes and the support she requires. She says, “Motherhood made me realise a lot about the needs of the new mother and babies. Mental wellness of pregnant women and new mothers is essential as it leads to mental wellness of their children. I feel very strongly about empowering women to make conscious decisions about their lives and make right choices. I want to create an ecosystem for women, so that we can all stand up for ourselves and help those less privileged along the way. The foundation is my way to give back to society.”
Priyanka points out that the idea is to empower, engage and facilitate women towards a sustainable livelihood. “Most complications in young mothers and infants occur due to preventable diseases and small steps like educating them or creating awareness can significantly reduce maternal and newborn mortality. We plan to work on three pillars — mental and physical wellness, knowledge and awareness, and empowerment,” she explains.
The foundation is working on a self sustainable development model where it will look at providing support, education and empowering expecting mothers, young mothers and families. “The plan is to continue with our research and field visits where we can understand the ground level realities even better by engaging with these mothers and hearing them out. Eventually, we want to get started with our pilot model and roll it out. We will also work with partner organisations for bigger impact,” shares Priyanka, and adds, “Underprivileged mothers need to know that whatever issues they face are normal and we are here for them and will help them along the way. Unfortunately, it’s the basics that get ignored and are replaced with a lot of myths, rules and limitations, which lead to mental stress and eventually depression. It’s as simple as being able to choose for yourself and do what you feel like doing. I have met several girls and women who have been under certain regulations for so long that they have forgotten their own identity or even existence.”
Going forward, the foundation plans to partner with governments, bilateral agencies, non-governmental organisations and the private sector, and collaborate with them in areas like nutrition, policy, advocacy and communications.