Reina Galjour left her job in an El Paso, Texas, clinic to move to a village with no running water and no toilets.
In February 2010, Galjour, a certified professional midwife and Orange County native, left the clinic she worked at for more than six years to move to Haiti, where she teaches midwifery to local women with the nonprofit organization Midwives for Haiti.
She recently returned to North Carolina to raise funds for the organization, which provides services and trains Haitian women in prenatal care in an effort to reduce maternal and infant deaths.
“Training Haitian midwives is really a huge step toward reducing maternal death,” Galjour said.
The fundraiser, which will include music and dancing, will start at 4 p.m. Saturday at Carr Mill Mall in Carrboro.
Galjour will show videos, present a slideshow and share stories of her time in Haiti.
The event will raise money for both Midwives for Haiti and Galjour’s own efforts to help impoverished Haitians, though no donation is required to attend.
Galjour said after the event, she plans to return to Haiti for at least another year.
Galjour’s work in Haiti has taken the native of Saxapahaw, a town just outside of Carrboro, far from home.
Growing up, Galjour repeatedly heard the story of her own home birth, but never seriously considered becoming a midwife.
“One day it just dawned on me that (midwifery) is actually a job,” Galjour said.
After attending Orange High School, she moved to El Paso to become a certified nurse-midwife.
But after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, she said it was time for her to make a change with her life.
She moved to Haiti to join Midwives for Haiti, which Nadene Brunk founded five years ago.
Debra O’Connell, certified nurse, midwife and owner of the Carrboro Midwifery practice, said home birth is a safe alternative to hospital birth.
She said though only 3 percent of all births in North Carolina are home births, certified nurse midwives in the U.S. have the lowest rates of neonatal mortality and morbidity..
Brunk said Haitian women who wouldn’t have gotten that quality care now have access to it.
“There are hundreds of women getting prenatal care that would not have before,” she said.
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