About the Barbara May Foundation

Who Was Barbara May?

Barbara May Browning (1916 – 2004) was the mother of Valerie Browning and grandmother of Andrew. She lived an altruistic life based on her Christian values, placing little value on material possessions and always looked to improve the lives of others. She endeavoured to reflect the love of Christ to others, the love that she had known in her life.

The Foundation was established to honour her and the values she instilled in her large family. She was a great supporter of Valerie and Andrew’s work, and travelled to Africa in 1999, when aged 83, to see Valerie’s work first-hand. Two of Barbara’s sons, retired obstetrician, David Browning, and retired Bishop, George Browning are founding members of the Board.

About the Foundation

The Barbara May Foundation (BMF) was founded in 2009 to support the work of Australian’s Valerie Browning AM, and her nephew, Dr Andrew Browning AM in maternal healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. They provide access to caring and knowledgeable maternal health professionals who treat all women with patience, respect and cultural sensitivity. The primary focus of BMF-funded programs is safer childbirth, the delivery of live babies, and mothers not dying or injured during childbirth.

The majority of programs focus on women living in rural areas and among poorer communities, and are provided free-of-charge to those in need regardless of race, religion or financial capacity. Andrew also undertakes extensive work treating women suffering from obstetric fistula* injuries which is estimated to be approximately two million in Africa.

* Obstetric Fistula injuries & treatment
Eradicated in the first world in the late 1800’s, obstetric fistula is a severe injury that can occur to a woman in childbirth caused by an obstructed labour. In the developed world, the injury would be prevented by a caesarean section. This intervention is often unavailable to many women in remote and poor regions and they can labour for up to 10 days causing terrible injury, usually a stillborn child, and in the worst cases, death. Often women go untreated for years, suffering ongoing pain, degradation and isolation. Dr Andrew Browning is considered one of the leading obstetric fistula surgeons in the world. Fistula injuries are treated at the Maternity Africa unit in Arusha and Andrew undertakes fistula camps in many African countries.

Read more about Valerie Browning AM and Dr Andrew Browning AM.

How can you help?

Programs supported wholly or in part by the Barbara May Foundation include:

. The building and operations of the Vision Maternity Care Hospital in Barhir Dar, Ethiopia.
. The operations of the Barbara May Maternity Hospital in Mille, Ethiopia.
. Kivulini Maternity Centre – Maternity Africa, Tanzania. This centre provides obstetric services and an extensive fistula repair program which includes significant outreach programs.
. Midwife Training Programs
. Tertiary education of local medical professionals.