By Gemma Snowdon, New Zealand Red Cross 

A New Zealand Red Cross refugee support volunteer has been giving more support than she had bargained for after helping with the birth of a baby boy.

Zaytoon, a Red Cross volunteer, has been supporting the Sandoval family for just over three months as Adriana, Hector, and their three children resettled in New Zealand. The family is originally from Colombia where violence and insecurity forced them to flee to neighbouring Ecuador. It was here that they successfully applied for resettlement in New Zealand. They arrived in Hamilton, New Zealand, in March this year with Adriana expecting the family’s fourth child.

Zaytoon has been supporting the family ever since, helping them navigate their new lives in their new home. They’ve all become great friends, so when Adriana went into labour, Zaytoon was the first person they thought to call. Fortunately, she was nearby and quickly piled Adriana into the car and rushed her to the hospital.

“It felt so urgent. We were almost preparing to deliver the baby in the car,” said Zaytoon. They made it to the hospital where Adriana asked Zaytoon to join her and Hector in the delivery room.

Nine hours later little Mathias made his entry into the world and Zaytoon was asked to cut the cord. The family and Red Cross volunteer were exhausted but happy at the end of the adventure and Mathias is now safely at home.