Finland proved baby boxes keep babies alive. Here's how they'll work in India.
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New parents everywhere know the first rule of parenting is keep your baby alive. Unfortunately, there are many factors that can make this a challenge.

That first year of life is the hardest because it's when babies are the most vulnerable. Couple that with a low socio-economic status, and this fundamental task may start to feel daunting.

However, about 80 years ago, one country — Finland — came up with something ingenious to help parents keep their babies alive: a box.


Finnish-style baby box. Photo by Matthew Yglesias/Flickr.

It's not just any box; it's a box with a cushioned bottom that doubles as a crib. The box also comes with a bunch of useful items to keep a baby healthy and happy like clothes, a towel, diapers, bibs, and a toy.

Despite their simplicity, the boxes worked. Within five years, infant mortality rates plummeted and kept falling after that. It's no surprise Finland still offers them to parents now.

As long as the mother goes to a prenatal visit within four months of becoming pregnant, the family gets to choose between a stipend or a baby box. Amazingly, 95% of families choose the box.

In the wake of Finland's success, several other countries have created their own versions of the baby box. However, people in low-income nations, like India, have unique needs.

Few know that as well as Karima Ladhani, a Doctor of Science candidate in global health at Harvard. When she came across an article about Finnish baby boxes, she started thinking about how they could be adapted to serve low-income families in South Asia.

Photo of one Indian mother and child the Barakat Bundle team met. All photos via Karima Ladhani.

Infant mortality rates in South Asia are among the highest in the world, which is largely due to lack of infant and maternal health care. Ladhani knew a baby box had to include more than basic baby accessories if they were going to truly make a difference.

Like any good academic, she decided to take a class about interventions for improving global health to try and refine her idea. Before she knew it, her idea had developed into a fully realized project that ended up being runner-up in the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition.

Suddenly, she had a $27,000 grant to work with. Ladhani thought, "OK, now we need to think about this in a serious way."

Ladhani then had a team behind her, many of whom had familial ties to India. So developing their baby box there seemed a simple decision.

As fate would have it, Ladhani met the president of the Public Health Foundation of India, K. Srinath Reddy, at a conference in Boston, and he was able to connect her with doctors on the ground there.

Once they had support from the heath care community, it was on to testing baby box prototypes. The way they picked items for the box was incredibly careful and deliberate — each one is proven to help reduce preventable infant and/or maternal mortality rates.

Ladhani (right) takes notes while families in India go through her baby box items.

After they were reviewed and approved by a neonatologist, it was off to India.

They sat down with more than 100 families and asked for their input on everything in the box.

They left the boxes with the families for a month, came back, and observed what was and wasn't working for them. They did two rounds of this kind of testing, each time refining the box to better fit parents' needs and wants.

Three years later, they've landed on a final prototype — a cradle made from locally sourced bamboo that they're calling the Barakat Bundle.

The cradle swings, has a mosquito net, and — because it's bamboo — is sustainable. It comes with a thermometer and other medical supplies, baby clothes, a blanket, sanitary napkins, and health education pamphlets for new parents.

After final rounds of safety testing, they plan to start selling the Barakat Bundle in the United States by the end of 2018. With every cradle purchased, a cradle gets sent to a family in South Asia along with all the supplies.

Indian families seeing one of the earlier iterations of Barakat Bundle.

"This allows families to, one, have access to a beautiful, portable cradle and, two, start their baby with a legacy of giving," Ladhani says.

The Barakat Bundle stands to make a huge change in infant and maternal health in South Asia.

And it wouldn't have been possible without grants that support research rather than the final product.

According to Ladhani, there aren't many grants that give you the leeway to do exploratory research without a guaranteed return on investment. The grant they received as a GenH finalist, for example, is an exception.

However, now that they're moving into distribution, Barakat Bundle needs more support. So if you're about to become a parent or know someone who is, consider buying one of their cradles. Not only will it help keep one baby healthy and happy, it'll do the same for a family in South Asia where such a gift could be lifesaving.

Barakat means "blessings" in Arabic. What could be a greater blessing than helping to keep babies alive?  

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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