In the week of International Women’s Day, Mini First Aid is celebrating the work women do all around the world to save children’s lives. We believe in the power of helping others. Many of our trainers ‘donate’ their time and knowledge to different projects in their local communities, and sometimes, communities much further afield. 

Mini First Aid trainer, Gemma da Silva has taken her first aid knowledge and skills out to China, to train up care givers with no previous first aid training. Gemma recently planned and delivered a series of first aid classes online, for staff at the Sunrise Development Foundation and for care givers at the Kunming Municipal Children’s Welfare Institution in Yunnan, China.

We spoke to Sarah McBride who co-runs Sunrise Development Foundation, an incredible organisation working with people with disabilities as well as children and young people in Yunnan.


Tell us about Sunrise, Sarah

Sunrise is an international non-profit organisation. We run a number of different projects in partnership with the government. Our main project is an Early Years room on the grounds of Kunming Municipal Children's Welfare Institution, a state run orphanage.

Our Early Years room recreates a family environment as much as possible. We allocate three ‘aunties’ to each ‘bay’ which cares for around 5 children. All but one of the children currently in our care has complex medical needs. We provide a lovely environment for the children and also run weekly sensory play activities and birthday celebrations together.


It sounds like an amazing project Sarah. How did the first aid training come about?

At Sunrise, we also run an annual training conference for ALL orphanage staff, not just for those who are part of the Foundation. Approximately one hundred staff look after around six hundred children in state care, most of whom have additional medical needs. We realised that many of our care workers did not have the skills and confidence to administer first aid, as the orphanage has 24 hour on site medical professionals.



What did you want the staff to learn?

We wanted carers to have the confidence to handle basic first aid situations themselves. Being able to deal with bumps and bruises allows staff to form a bond with children, as well as to look after them. We also wanted staff to learn about what to do in emergency situations, whilst waiting for medical staff to arrive. Those first few minutes can be crucial when dealing with choking, febrile seizures or with a child who has stopped breathing for example.


How did staff respond to Gemma’s first aid training?

Staff really enjoyed the practical and ‘hands-on’ nature of Gemma’s training. They loved that the classes, training notes and practical exercises were so cohesive and well planned. Gemma’s training has definitely given them more confidence. We really hope we can offer refresher classes in the future.


Gemma mentioned that you’re all ‘kitted up’ now too?!

Absolutely. Gemma's expertise and advice has meant that we have now provided every department with a full first aid kit, as well as buying child and infant mannikins and choking vest, training bandages and first aid kits so the staff can continue to practice their new skills. Gemma’s training has made us prioritise the importance of first aid in our work and not just rely on the on-site medical team. Thanks Gemma!


Two amazing, strong women using their skills to help others - now that is worth celebrating!