Biography of Robin Lim - Bumi Sehat Medical Care

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Who's Robin Lim

Robin Lim,
born 1956 Heritage;  has a diverse genealogy, which mixes Native American, Indonesian, Chinese, Philippine, German and Irish elements. She lives in Bali with her husband Wil Hammerle, and has seven daughters and sons, as well as one niece.

Robin’s support and inspiration is her family, husband Wil, and seven children. Lim’s Filipino Grandmother, Vicenta Munar Lim, was a traditional birth attendant in the Baguio mountain region of Luzon, Philippine Islands. Before during and after WWII she served as a healer and baby catcher for her people. Just as Lim’s "Lola" passed her family tradition of hands-on healing down to her, Lim is already training her granddaughter, Zhouie, in the art and passion of midwifery and service to humanity

Robin Lim is a mother, grandmother, author, poet, midwife and educator who lives in Bali with her husband and children. Ibu (mother) Robin is a Certified Professional Midwife, with the North American Registry of Midwives and Ikatan Bidan Indonesia.

She is a founder and executive director for Yayasan Ibu Bumi Sehat Birth Center in Bali. Lim splits her time between the birth center and the Tsunami Relief Clinic in Samatiga Aceh, Sumatra. Along with receiving babies, Ibu Robin is an author. Many of her articles, stories and poems have been published in Midwifery Today magazine and The Birthkit newsletter.

Following the December 2004 Tsunami disaster, Robin moved to Banda Aceh (Sumatra), an area that was torn also by ethnic and religious conflicts. Robin has been supporting survivor women, not only by providing them with health care and birth services, but also by helping them in the emotional process, the reconstruction of the social network, and mutual help relationships among people.

Robin headed to Yogyakarta right after the area is shook by an earthquake few months ago. There, she established an emergency unit, which not only provides health assistance but also trains the community to be able to start living a healthy lifestyle.

Bumi Sehat Medical Care

Robin Lim, chosen because of his dedication to provide the service free of pregnancy and childbirth in women who are less able to Indonesia since 1994. As a form of dedication, he established a foundation named Bumi Sehat Bali as a manifestation of his dedication in 2003 and until now has helped thousands of women in Bali and Aceh.

Robin Lim Receives the 2006 International Alexander Langer Prize. The Scientific and Guarantee Committee of the Alexander Langer Foundation, Bolzano, Italy/Italia, has decided to award the International Alexander Langer Prize for 2006 to Ms. Robin Lim, founder and advisor for the non-profit organisation Yayasan Ibu Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Hearth Foundation), based in Bali, Indonesia.

Robin Lim is a Certified Professional Midwife, with the North American Registry of Midwives, and recently joined the Indonesian Midwifery Association. She is Executive Director of Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Hearth Foundation) and Health Director of the Tsunami Relief Clinic in Aceh. The Foundation started by Robin has recently built a small but well qualified and friendly clinic, maternal and child health centre and birth centre.

Robin Lim is called “barefoot midwife” for her efforts in promoting healthy pregnancy, gentle childbirth, serene welcoming of the newborn, and fighting poverty and malnutrition.
Following the best Western as well as Non-Western traditions and practices, Robin directs her gentle and friendly efforts to promoting traditional knowledge and herbal medicine and, most importantly, mobilising pregnant women, new mother’s human and spiritual resources in caring for themselves and their child, helping them to face the moments of weakness and spiritual vulnerability with emotional strength.

“We believe – Robin wrote – that a gentle and healthy birth is the foundation of a beautiful life. Peace in the world can be fostered starting today, one baby at a time”.

On September 29th, 2006, Robin Lim will receive an award in the frame of the annual meeting “Euromediterranea” dedicated to Alexander Langer, in Bolzano, Italy/Italia.
Robin also will be received by Mr. Bertinotti, the Italian Parliament’s President, on October 5th 2006 in Italy.

Robin Lim, who is now settled in Ubud, Bali with his family that also has written several bestselling books related to childbirth. Lim also has won many awards for his dedication to it.
The midwife member of the North American Registry of Midwives and the Association of Indonesia Perbidanan it with 9 other name will receive prize money of U.S. $ 50 thousand, and his story will be narrated by renowned celebrity. CNN Heroes one of the lucky ones will get cash grants of U.S. $ 255 thousand to help their contribution, and was named the CNN Hero of the Year.


At dawn, two women rise after sleeping on mats outside an Indonesian hospital.
They've waited all night for a chance to see their newborn babies, whom the hospital is holding until the medical bills are paid in full.

"Holding babies until payment is common in Indonesia," said Robin Lim, a midwife who founded birthing clinics in Aceh and the island of Bali.

At this particular hospital in Bali, mothers who don't pay are allowed in twice a day to feed their baby and change their baby's diaper. Those fortunate enough to find the money may take their babies home. Others might relinquish their parental rights and place their babies up for adoption, Lim explained.

"You worry, 'Will I be able to deliver this baby safely into the world?' But you shouldn't have to worry, 'How will I pay for it?' " said Lim, 54.

"Mother Robin," or "Ibu Robin" as she is called by the locals, is working to change that with her Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation) health clinics. These birthing sanctuaries offer free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid to anyone who needs it.

And the needs are vast in Indonesia. The average family earns the equivalent of $8 a day, according to the International Monetary Fund, but a normal hospital delivery without complications costs around $70. A Caesarian section can cost more than $700.

Lim believes Indonesia's high maternal and infant mortality rates are caused in part by these costs, which many women cannot meet. In turn, their lives and the lives of their babies are at risk.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, three out of five women giving birth in South Asia do so without a skilled birth attendant on hand.

"The situation is bad ... babies are unattended, deliveries have become commercialized, and mothers die from hemorrhage after childbirth because they can't afford proper care," Lim said.

Working as a midwife in Indonesia was not something Lim, a U.S. citizen and author of many books related to infant and maternal health, planned for her life. But after several personal tragedies, her life shifted in a new direction.

"In the span of a year, I lost my best friend and one of the midwives who delivered my child," said Lim, who has eight children. "My sister also died as a complication of her third pregnancy, and so did her baby. I was crushed, just crushed.

"But I decided not to get angry. I decided to become part of the solution. If I could help even one family prevent the loss of a mother or a child, I would do that. I would dedicate my life to it."

Lim and her husband, Will, sold their home in Hawaii and moved the family to Bali to "reinvent their lives."

For Lim, there was no second-guessing the destination. Raised in the Philippines while her father was stationed in Indonesia with the U.S. military, she says she "always felt happiest in Asia."

Once in Bali, Lim volunteered to help local midwives deliver babies in various homes. And as the demand for her services grew, she decided to receive formal midwife certification.

In 2003, with help from the Balinese community and donations from friends across the globe, Lim and her husband opened the first Yayasan Bumi Sehat clinic. At the clinic, there are midwives, nurses, housekeepers, a doctor and a chef.

A short time later, after the massive tsunami in 2004, a smaller, sister location was built in Aceh to care for displaced survivors. Combined, the two clinics have facilitated the birth of more than 5,000 babies.

Some Indonesian celebrities and expatriates choose Bumi Sehat to birth their children, and they often give donations. But Lim says 80% of the families served by the clinics can barely pay anything.

"Rock star or prostitute, everyone gets treated (like a) VIP at Bumi Sehat ... with kindness and respect," she said. "It's something to see a family come year after year, every time their mango tree gives fruit, and give a few mangoes to the staff to say thank you.

"No one gets rich being a midwife. The riches that you experience are the deeper values."

Part of these riches, Lim said, is the knowledge that so many people rely on the clinics, two of the few 24-hour businesses in Aceh and Bali.

"Everyone knows us," she said. "For expecting couples who don't have a phone to call us for help or for a ride, it's common for them to hop on their motorcycles in the night to get to the clinic, where they know someone will be there waiting. And if they have a special request for me, I'll get a call, I'll get up and I'll go do the delivery."

The love and attention is appreciated by the new mothers, who don't have alternatives for safe, accessible care.

"I had my first born ... in a different clinic," said Gusti "Ayu" Ketut Gerti, a 31-year-old who came to Lim for the birth of her second child in February. "There's a big difference between that experience and (Bumi Sehat). Here, I feel comfortable. Robin is very kind, very motherly.

"I do not have money, and I tell my friends to also come here. I wish there were more people like her to lift up the suffering of the poor people."

Lim hopes that Gerti's experience can become the standard practice worldwide.

"Does the world have a responsibility to all pregnant women, to each new baby? Yes," Lim said. "Each baby, each adult deserves a clean, healthy, loving environment. ... Those things are basic. Those are a human right."

Want to get involved? Check out the Bumi Sehat Foundation website at  and see how to help.

Tel: +62 361 970002 or Ibu Robin 08133833825, email or visit our website


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