Not everyone is lucky enough to grow up in his/her original family. Every year up to 500 children leave maternity hospitals without their biological mother. They come to foster parents, adoptive parents or to infant institutions only with a dimissory report from a maternity hospital. However, in the report they will not find out the circumstances of their birth, how they looked like, or who was cradling them instead of their mum.
The head nurse of the Teaching Hospital Královské Vinohrady Michaela Chmelařová got an idea to preserve the first memories for these children. Martin Opava together with Iva Říhová from the Foundation La Vida Loca realised her idea in the project “Život v Kufříku” (“Life in a Suitcase”). Since 2015 maternity hospitals from the whole country have been gradually joining the project, and together with hospital stuff they fill the suitcases for children with a birth bracelet, photos, a first baby´s dummy, a small baby suit or a toy crocheted by one of the volunteers and a bunch of personal messages and notes.
Hardly anybody can imagine how difficult it is for the adolescent children to cope with the fact that their mother abandoned them right after their birth. They feel unwanted. They know nothing about the beginning of their life. They can´t compare their appearance with the features of their own children at birth. They can´t experience the feeling of family solidarity. “Život v kufříku” ensures that they know they were loved, affectionately cradled in arms of nurses, coaxed by doctors, and that grandmas from senior homes thought about them and created handmade toys for them. The suitcase carries a clear message: