MEMBERS of the Zonta Club of Bendigo joined with volunteers from the community and students on Saturday to assemble 2000 kits that aim to provide a clean birth environment for women in developing countries.
The birthing kits, which contain six items to help satisfy the basic requirements for a clean birth in the absence of medical facilities, are put together annually by Zonta Clubs in Australia before being distributed to more than 30 countries in Africa and the Asia Pacific.
Bendigo birthing kit co-ordinator Irene McKinna said about 60 volunteers spent their Saturday helping create the kits at Bendigo Senior Secondary College by helping to assemble and pack the various items of the kit.
"By the end of today were trying to achieve 2000 birthing kits, we've already started the assembly process with 2000 folded sheets of plastic," she said on Saturday morning.
"The students at Bendigo Senior Secondary College and Girton Grammar have folded the plastic."
She said this year the Bendigo Zonta Club was aiming to fund the production of 3000 or more kits over two project days, with another 1000 kits to be put together later in the year.
"The reason we make the kits is because about 400,000 women a year die in childbirth because of infection and complications," she said.
Ms McKinna said research had shown for every 11 kits, a mother or baby's life could be saved.
"It's hard to get accurate statistics because usually these places are so remote," she said.
She said the assembly days drew volunteers from all types of backgrounds, most of whom enjoyed the social aspect as much as the good cause they were helping.
"People like to make a difference and they feel this is something they can manage," she said.
"It's a very social day. It's good that more men are coming along too; women with their sons or fathers with their sons."
Huntly resident Andrew Pollock said he and his family of six had all come along to help out on Saturday.
"Lately I've been trying to encourage my children to do more community work, so we thought we'd come along," he said.
"I thought I could do that, sitting down and not having to walk around too much."
His son, 18-year-old Joshua, said he was happy to be roped along.
"I like to do a bit of community work as well," he said.