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Celebrating 10,000 Happy Birthdays to come

Celebrating 10,000 Happy Birthdays to come

On June 11, 2014, we had a fundraising concert for the “10,000 Happy Birthdays” project in the new Stavanger Concert Hall. It was a very special night, both for the artists and the more than 1,100 people in the audience.

The revenue from the ticket sale is matched by Laerdal Global Health, and goes directly to the “10,000 Happy Birthdays” project. The evening resulted in a net contribution of $ 200,000 towards our goal of raising $ 2 million for the "10,000 Happy Birthdays" initiative!

The evening was kicked off with the 10,000 Happy Birthdays campaign video. The rest of the program was a mix of music and dance performances, and talkshow-style sessions on how the 10,000 Happy Birthdays campaign will help save 10,000 mothers and newborns in Malawi and Zambia.

The program host of the evening was Mads Gilbert, a well-known Norwegian anesthesiologist based in Tromsø, but with a heart for global health. Mads has for many years travelled to resource-poor countries like Burma, Angola and Myanmar to help train health providers. His interview with the three passionate midwives; Frances Ganges (CEO of the International Confederation of Midwives), Jane Zgambo (midwife instructor from Jhpiego, travelling all the way from Malawi to participate) and Signe Egenberg (educational midwife from Stavanger University Hospital and ph.d. fellow on the Helping Mothers Survive program) left no doubt that a “midwife gene exists”, and that some of the key ingredients are passion and drive!

Later in the program, Mads also had a session with Hege Ersdal (Ass. Professor and anesthesiologist at Stavanger University Hospital) about the research on Helping Babies Breathe in Tanzania, that showed a reduction in early newborn mortality after implementation of Helping Babies Breathe of as much as 47 %. Tore Laerdal was also interviewed about why Laerdal has taken initiative to this campaign, and Johannes Hausken about why this is an important project for Rotary.

The evening also has some very special dance and music performances, both by well-established artists and new, young talents. Here are some selected video clips:

Abelone Melesse did a fantastic rap performance in Amharic (Ethiopian language) and English on the situation of African mothers. Abelone lives in Stavanger, but her parents are from Ethiopia. She is only 18 years old, and had made this song especially for this concert and performed it for the very first time. She blew the audience complete away with her passion and talent. 

Marie Ronold Mathiesen, The Art Performer of Stavanger 2013, had also made a fantastic dance performance particularly for this evening. Pay particular attention to the end of her performance. Music by Peter Lee.

“The Singing Midwives” from the Stavanger University Hospital performed several songs both alone and together with the famous Norwegian singer Sigvart Dagsland. Here is one of their songs, “Jordmorsangen” (Song of the Midwives), accompanied by photos from a day in their job in Stavanger.