Every parent knows firsthand that babies, no matter how small, can get surprisingly heavy to carry after just a short period of grocery shopping, going for a walk, or even getting things done around the house. Imagine for a moment how Syrian refugee parents feel while carrying their baby during their urgent yet lengthy passage to Croatia and the Balkans in hopes of a safer life. In addition to toting their child(ren), they are also bringing along essential supplies including food and water. Croatian non-profit BRODOTO is attempting to ‘Lighten the Load’ of these parents by providing strong, durable, and wearable slings to parents as they make this pressing journey along the Western Balkan route, and they have almost quadrupled their Indiegogo fundraising goal in just two days!
The number of children fleeing war-torn areas along the Western Balkan route has increased greatly over the past few months, with children now making up a quarter of the refugee population. Many of the refugees will be traveling by foot as far as 1,800 miles, so having a sling to help distribute a child’s weight would make an enormous difference (and also allows mothers the opportunity to breastfeed en route). The campaign’s original goal was to produce and provide slings for 100 babies, and the organization promises that the additional funds will go into providing more slings and resources to refugee families.
The slings will be made from a non-toxic fabric in Croatia by a textile cooperative run by women, and feature a simple design with an aluminum ring that makes adjusting the sling for either parent easy. BRODOTO’s project partners will distribute the slings along the migratory route while filming the entire process for an awareness-raising documentary on the journey of refugee families. The campaign, which reached its original funding goal within its first hour, will last until October 7th in case you want to help #LightentheLoad. BRODOTO is also accepting gently used slings to distribute among refugee parents as well.