Giving back to your community is an act that is essential to everyone’s well-being.
Philosopher Matshona Dhliwayo couldn’t have said it any better “your mind expands when you give, your heart expands when you share and soul expands when you are charitable.”
There are many people across the world who continue to help those in need by giving back to their communities. Dorcia Brown-Lyle is one of those individuals who is very passionate about charity and her passion has led her to New BIRTH (Beginning in Restoring Trust and Hope).
Brown-Lyle, a nurse manager at the Black River Hospital in St Elizabeth (known also as the singing nurse for her viral COVID-19 hit, Tan a yuh Yaad )describes New BIRTH as a mentorship programme that encapsulates the art of sharing and caring.
“It is a simple programme which involves individuals giving back to another person and what better person could this be than a precious newborn, who was born on your birthday,” she said.
Brown-Lyle told Our Today that the idea came to her by divine intervention.
“It was through inspiration from God that I came about the name,” she added.
“Birthdays are special days for most persons. We are accustomed to receiving gifts for our birthdays but, with this programme, the wheels have turned,” an enthused Brown-Lyle stated.
She also shared that giving back on the day you were born is another way to thank God for life and allowing you to share your blessings with someone else.
The programme was conceptualised two years ago when Brown-Lyle’s birthday was approaching.
“While lying down in bed, just before the break of dawn, I had the thought of giving back to another person who was born on my birthday, not just any random person but a new born.”
The nurse manager said she was ecstatic about the idea, however her spirit was dampened due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With this, she decided to hold off on the idea until things were somewhat normalised. For her birthday, which was on February 2, Brown-Lyle felt the urge that it was now time to give back and she satisfied that urge by doing just that and even going a bit further by telling those around her about her initiative.
“This time I decided that I wouldn’t keep such an idea to myself but to share it. What would be the point of me just giving one gift to one child who was born on my birthday while hundreds and hopefully thousands (in the future) may benefit from this programme.”
The philanthropist thought about involving other persons, including her coworkers and friends and all interested persons.
“I approached my CEO, Mrs. Diana Brown Miller, telling her about the programme, as the Black River Hospital would be the first hospital benefiting from this programme and she has fully endorsed the concept,” Brown-Lyle revealed.
Since the start of the project
The programme was officially launched on June 23 at the Black River Hospital.
Brown-Lyle shared with Our Today that support for the programme is growing.
“Mr Michael Bent, the regional director for the Southern Regional [Health] Authority has fully embraced the programme and is eager to give to a newborn on his birthday coming up later this year.”
She also noted that this, as with any new programme, will take some time to reach its full potential.
“It is still in early stages of development as it will take much effort and much promotion to get the word to individuals far and near to be a part of this wonderful sharing opportunity,” she said.
She shared that persons are excited and eager to be a part of the programme. Some persons have donated already and her family and friends overseas are already planning plan to send their gifts for a newborn who was born on their birthday.
As of now, the programme is exclusive to the Black River Hospital. Brown-Lyle shared that her hope for the programme is that it will become a national programme.
“I would love every newborn in the 24 public and approximately five private hospitals in Jamaica to receive a gift on their birthday. When you give your gift, life lasting relationships may be formed,” she noted.
Brown-Lyle told Our Today that other hospitals in the Southern Regional Health Authority, such as the Mandeville Regional and May Pen hospitals will be on board in short order.
She also highlighted that the mentorship aspect of the programme is not compulsory. Individuals may decide to end the relationship after donating a gift, however, if you decide to be a mentor to the mother/baby, then the relationship would be continued.
“If you are someone who loves to see others happy, if you are someone who believes there is still hope in this violent, harsh and uncaring society in which we live, then this is the programme for you,” Brown-Lyle stated.
You may be wondering what would make a great gift for a newborn, so Brown-Lyle shared a few suggestions.
The ideal gifts would be: gift baskets with baby products such as wipes, diapers, feeding cups, etc (no nipple bottles); books to encourage early literacy practices; gift certificates and education funds.
She noted that, as a mentor to a newborn, some of your duties would include encouraging exclusive breastfeeding for the first six completed months of life and motivating parents to do follow-up visits with the child to clinics or private practitioner.
Brown-Lyle declared the bottom line of the project is giving back while forming relationships which in the long term may restore trust and hope in a broken society.
“Let’s make this Jamaica 60th Anniversary extra special by giving back on our birthday. Tell your neighbours, families and friends and remember this programme is coming to a hospital near you. If your Birthday is August or September, what better gift could you give than supporting the New BIRTH programme. If your months are October to December please make every effort to get your gift ready,” an excited Brown-Lyle shared.
The health practitioner pointed out that mothers will not be coerced to be a part of the programme.
Persons in the environs, nationwide or in diaspora can become a part of this venture and deliver a gift to a newborn who was born on their birthday. Persons who are interested may send an email to email@example.com.