News Story

Donation Helps Reduce Social Inequalities for Children and Pregnant Women in Montreal

La Maison Bleue, a non-profit organization helping children and pregnant women living in circumstances of vulnerability, recently received a $100,000 contribution from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to purchase medical equipment and furniture for a new clinic opening in Montreal North. The mission of La Maison Bleue is to reduce social inequalities by helping pregnant women who are at risk and by promoting and fostering the optimal development of children until the age of 5.

Salma Moussatef, La Maison Bleue’s philanthropic development manager, noted that “social and community services should be available close to the population. However, it is recognized that the western part of Montreal North is particularly lacking in community and health services.”

The borough and its institutional and community partners have strong documentation that people in Montreal North experience a range of social challenges, including unemployment and inactivity, violence, obstacles to school readiness and retention, integration difficulties for new immigrants, housing issues, food insecurity, and domestic and intra-family violence. Pockets of poverty persist in the east end of the community, where the average annual income per person is $24,793, and in the northeast sector, where the average is as low as $22,777 (see

Moussatef added, “According to borough data, 53.4 per cent of families with children aged 0 to 5 live below the low-income threshold, which is almost double the figure for Montreal Island as a whole. … Slightly more than one-third (33.9 per cent) of pregnant women in Montreal North have no follow-up care in the first trimester of pregnancy.” La Maison Bleue hopes to make a difference for children and pregnant women living in this neighbourhood by improving accessibility, continuity, and quality of care and services.

After touring the new clinic, Bishop Patrick Robertson and his wife Cornetta Mascoll Robertson of the Montreal Ward commented that they were grateful that “vulnerable pregnant women and their babies are being given a chance at improved living situations and a brighter future. The idea that La Maison Bleue provides perinatal care from pregnancy until a child turns 5 was a concept we had never heard about before.” In addition, they were encouraged that La Maison Bleue is “prioritizing their efforts on women who are still expecting.”

La Maison Bleue brings together a “village” under one roof. Women and families living in conditions of multiple and complex vulnerabilities can access a support network of therapists, legal aid, volunteers, and health and social services professionals, including family doctors, midwives, nurses, social workers, specialized educators and psychoeducators. La Maison Bleue promotes a positive experience of pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood; stops isolation; and provides families with tools to support the well-being of each family member.

La Maison Bleue also connects the community village with partners to support this important work. Moussatef said, “La Maison Bleue promotes collaboration with community partners to maximize the positive impact on the community.”

La Maison Bleue Montreal North is made possible by partnering with many donors, including the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Zeller Family Foundation, Caisse Desjardins de Sault-au-Récollet–Montréal-Nord, the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the City of Montreal and a community fundraising campaign that raised an additional $20,000.

Bishop Robertson explained that the Church is happy to be one of the community partners for this project. “It shows that we honour the Saviour’s invitations to visit the poor and the needy, impart of our substance and administer relief to those in need,” he said. “In doing so, we collectively and individually witness our love for both God and our neighbour.”

Robertson emphasized that the Church “values families — the basic unit of society — as well as supporting social structures and the important role they play in developing healthy and happy societies.” Partnering with organizations allows the Church to improve people’s lives and make a difference in the community at the grassroots level. Robertson said, “Local-level partnerships are very impactful because the outreach can more easily be directed to the source, the lives of those in need.”

The first La Maison Bleue was established in May 2007. More than 1,000 women have been followed in a network of four clinics that currently operate in the Montreal area. La Maison Bleue Montreal North will be the fifth clinic in the network.

Read the article in French.

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