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Baragwanath Blessings Inc. Founder Colette Ankenman

  • Broadcast in Health
Joe Hackman

Joe Hackman


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Colette is a senior at The Athenian School. Her journey of service started during an 8th grade service project when she made 30 hats and blankets and sent them to a friend in South Africa. She then delivered them to Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg. The hospital is the biggest and one of the poorest hospitals in the world. Mothers and infants are only allowed to stay six hours after they give birth. The infants are also frequently sent home in plastic or newspaper. After hearing about these conditions and similar conditions all over Africa and the world she knew she had to do something. To date over 6,000 hats and blankets have been sent to newborns in Africa. These works lead her to create a non-profit group in 2009 called Baragwanath Blessings Inc. She named it after the babies and mothers at Baragwanath who first inspired her. The mission of BB Inc. is to help babies and children in need around the world. They’ve served 18 countries and hand delivered 14,065 items. These items include hats, blankets, clothing and much more. Local schools like Greenleaf elementary school in Oakland have supported the effort as well by making baby hats. BB Inc. has held medical clinics where they have seen 1,200 patients. They also created a children and prenatal vitamin program in Guatemala. BB Inc. started a midwives education program in Guatemala to decrease infant mortality. BB Inc. projects are constantly growing as they get more assistance from people in the community and find out about babies and children in need throughout the world. Awards: 2008 National Association of High School Scholars 2009 Received the Jefferson Award for Public Service 2009 Received Award of Merit from the town of Danville, California 2009 Finalist in Prudential Spirit of Community 2010 Received Gold Medal Presidential Service Award