The Big Push – A charity buggy push up through Ashton Court on 5th July


Any mum will know how precarious, daunting and hazardous childbirth can be.

Luckily, in this country we have trained midwives, decent facilities, consultants, ambulances and emergency care, just in case things start to go wrong. Much of the rest of the world isn’t quite so lucky.

In Ethiopia, last year, according to statistics from the World Heath Organisation, 13,000 women died from childbirth complications. Many of those women were teenagers, living in remote rural areas with no access to clean water, electricity or even basic health care.

Indeed, in the Ejere district of Ethiopia where we, the Bristol-based charity For Ethiopia work, there are only three basic health centres to look after a population of 150,000.

There isn’t even a single doctor – the centres, instead, rely on the skills of midwives and nurses with basic training and even more basic equipment.  In this region, the knowledge of western medicine is so poor, people haven’t even heard of conditions such as Down’s Syndrome or Epilepsy. They still rely on holy water to cure people of various ailments.

For-Ethiopia was founded in 2004 by an Ethiopian lady, Tigist Grieve, who had moved to Bristol and wanted to do something to help her home community.

After discussions with locals about what they needed most, the charity began to focus on three areas – health, education and water.

We work to improve health posts, sponsor girls through education and build wells, so people have access to clean drinking water close to their homes.

We are now in our tenth, busy year and are fundraising for a motorbike ambulance, which will cost around £6,000 (for the bike, the training of the driver, and the transportation to Ethiopia).

These eRanger ambulances can travel over rough, rocky terrain and can transport women in labour comfortably from their home to their nearest health centre if they are facing problems.

We want to reduce incidences of mothers giving birth at home, with no trained midwife, often in the dark without water, electricity or light.

We want them to be able to reach a place of relative safety, where the chances of them and their baby surviving are much greater than if they stayed alone at home.

Such ambulances, which are already in operation in other parts of Africa, are the key to achieving this.

The Big Push is a fundraising event, whereby mums in the UK can help mums in Ethiopia who are less fortunate than themselves.

The idea is simple – meet in the bottom courtyard of Ashton Court, by the mansion house at 11am on Saturday, July 5 come rain or shine. Push on up through the park following the main path, which will be marked-out with balloons in bright Ethiopian colours, to the top café, where you will receive a certificate and drink! Then, do as you please and enjoy the rest of the park, or meet down the bottom again for further tea and cake.

For-Ethiopia will have a stand in the bottom courtyard, with charity material and Ethiopian goods to sell. Although it’s aimed at mums with buggies, all are welcome. Bring older kids on scooters and bikes, bring your dog, bring dads, bring friends.

We’ve asked for a donation of between £5 and £10 per family – with all the money going directly to the charity, but we’re a flexible bunch.

We don’t waste money in our charity. We are all volunteers, with minimal overheads, but we are effective. The Ethiopian government recently ranked us the number one NGO in the region.

Please join us for this fun day, and spread the word.

For more info, email [email protected] or ring 0781 759 8689.
Alternatively, visit or our Facebook page,

The Big Push organiser and For Ethiopia volunteer, Gwyneth Rees, said: ‘Childbirth should be a time of great joy, not horrendous tragedy. It’s horrific that in this day and age, so many bright, young, talented women are dying simply due to a lack of basic health care. The Big Push event is about drawing attention to the mums and babies in Africa who aren’t as lucky as mums here. It’s also about doing something positive. Who knows how many lives can be saved with just one motorbike ambulance.’

PLEASE NOTE: For those planning to attend and come by car, do come early in case parking is a problem.

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