Manitoba

Family looks to fill baby boxes for mothers in refugee camps

A family travelling across Canada to make life better for people in refugee camps is stopping in Winnipeg Saturday afternoon.

'Imagine taking care of a newborn baby under these circumstances,' Melie DeChamplain says

A pregnant mother, husband, and child with a baby box in a refugee camp. (Canada Caring/Submitted to CBC)

A family travelling across Canada to make life better for people in refugee camps is stopping in Winnipeg Saturday afternoon.

Melie DeChamplain's family started their journey in Duncan, B.C.  and have made their way across the country to raise money for baby boxes for women in refugee camps in Greece and the Middle East.

"They live in very, very basic camps. They are like army camps and they have very little belongings and they don't have, at the moment without those boxes, the essential needs to care for their baby," she said.

The "baby box" is used in many Scandinavian countries and has been handed out in Finland since the 1930s.

The ones which will be handed out to refugee mothers are specifically designed to meet the needs of mothers in the camps. The box itself can also be used as a baby bed with a mattress and sheets.

A sample baby box. (Canada Caring/Submitted to CBC)

DeChamplain said it costs $100 to prepare and distribute the boxes but they are also looking for donations.

"[We need] diapers, pajamas, blankets, also some products for the mothers and also some hygiene products for the babies," she said.

The family's work is part of a campaign developed by Canada Caring, a volunteer group working to help refugees.

"The conditions at some of the refugee camps are dreadful. Some camps have no running water or electricity. Most refugees are living in canvas tents and sleeping on the ground. Imagine taking care of a newborn baby under these circumstances," DeChamplain said.

The plan is to send each of the boxes to the mothers in the fall.

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