Conceived in collaboration with the Cultural Association of Paediatricians, our 1000 Days project serves pregnant women, mothers and fathers, babies, and children up to the age of 3 whose health and wellbeing are at risk because of poverty and, in many cases, social isolation. The project is implemented in the neighbourhoods of Rione Sanità in Naples and Tor Sapienza in Rome.
Our aim is to help entire families, and we approach them through mothers. Many mothers we serve are single mothers, and are undereducated, under-employed, or unemployed. Women who are immigrants or refugees face language barriers and may endure exploitation. Social isolation can deprive poor women of access to – even awareness of – basic services like free prenatal screening.
Infants born into these conditions arrive already at risk: during the crucial first 1,000 days of life, when the brain is growing rapidly, the lack of adequate nutrition, healthcare, and a nurturing family may result in health, emotional, social, and learning problems that shape a lifetime, with consequences that extend to future generations.
Drawing from multiple professional disciplines, we design and implement plans – custom-tailored to each family – that strengthen the health and well-being of family members. Our plans are carefully coordinated with local networks of agencies and organizations to complement, not overlap with, family services they provide.
Obtaining each mother’s commitment to carrying out her family’s plan is essential to success.
The core components of our 1000 Days project are these:
- For pregnant women, we design a personalized plan that promotes her health and her baby’s. Services include physical exams provided by the National Healthcare Service and courses that prepare pregnant women to deliver their babies.
- For new mothers who’ve participated in 1000 Days since their fourth month of pregnancy, we supply a Maternity Suitcase full of items essential to the early days of a baby’s life. The suitcase does much more than meet material needs. It serves as an inducement, as does our “From Mum to Mum” project, for mothers to visit and engage with us. These personal interactions help build the relationships of trust and support that are the foundation of our work.
- For new parents, we arrange counselling sessions with medical specialists and other professionals in which – in a welcoming, non-judgmental setting – the mothers and fathers can freely express their concerns, pose questions, and learn how best to care for their new babies. These exchanges also help us determine which local network services can further help these families.
We augment core services by inviting mothers to participate in other Pianoterra projects that can help them and their families. Please visit our “Projects” page to learn more.
Our “graduates” carry with them the knowledge and skills they’ve gained, and we encourage them to share this widely!