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Saturday May 28, 2011

NGO holds exhibition to stress benefits of breast milk

AN ART exhibition titled “Motherhood: Celebrating and Supporting Women as Mothers, Workers and Nurturers!” is currently being held in George Town in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the World Alliance for Breast-feeding Action (Waba).

Running until June 12 at the Galeri Seni Mutiara, the event is a joint collaboration by the gallery, Waba and the state’s Youth and Sports, Women, Family and Community Development Committee.

It features works of various mediums by 34 artists, highlighting women’s contribution to society, as well as the importance of breastfeeding in a child’s health and development.

It also serves as a fundraiser, with a portion of proceeds from sales of artworks channelled towards Waba.

Speaking during the official opening on Sunday, Waba steering committee member Datuk Dr Anwar Fazal said that many people were still unaware of the benefits of breastfeeding.

Woman’s Joy: A work by Keng Seng Choo.

“In a 100 years, we have lost the natural way of nurturing a baby, and substituted it with something unnatural.

“People simply forgot. Besides the benefits of immunity and being economical, breastfeeding is also about love — the bond between a mother and her child,” he said, adding that visual arts is the best way to capture its essence.

In her statement, Waba executive director Sarah Amin said breastfeeding is the single most effective way to reduce newborn and child mortality, while also contributing to the health and well-being of mothers.

“Waba’s vision is that all women should have the opportunity to experience motherhood and a satisfying work life, if they so choose, and that all children have the right to the best start in life with breastfeeding and optimal care.”

She also touched on the fact that the majority of women around the world continue to have to make personal sacrifices at home, with their children, in order to earn a livelihood.

All together: (Front from left to right) Dr Anwar, Dr Savage, Dr Naylor and Fidalgo cutting the 20th anniversary birthday cake, with Dr Gupta (second left) and Ong looking on.

“We have been advocating to bring about improved conditions to enable women to combine paid work with nurturing work that is often invisible, unrecognised and undervalued.

“Without women’s multiple roles, society would not be able to reproduce itself. Together with various stakeholders, we hope to see Penang and Malaysia become a mother-baby-friendly state,” she added.

The event ended with a cake cutting ceremony to mark the two-decade milestone, with Waba board members Dr Felicity Savage, Dr Audrey Naylor, Dr Arun Gupta and Lourdes Fidalgo doing the honours.

Also present were Penang Youth, Sports, Women, Family and Community Development Committee chairman Lydia Ong Kok Fooi and gallery director/curator Koay Soo Kau.

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