Elisa Stelli

image1 (2)

Third year student midwife at Kingston and St. George’s University of London and board member of Lion Mentor Association

I am originally from Romania, but living and studying midwifery in London. I am currently in my last year of training. I am very passionate about human rights in childbirth and strongly believe that every women should have the right to a dignifying and empowering, positive birth, regardless of which part of the world she gives birth in.

After meeting several midwives from Romania in my UK journey towards becoming a midwife, and doing a broad literature search, I have become very passionate about improving birth in Romania, as it became very clear that pregnancy and birth are very medicalised, obstetric violence very common and the majority of women are terrified of giving birth.

I have recently became a board member of Lion Mentor Association, a Romanian non governmental organisation that fights for women’s rights, and are working towards empowering women through giving them information, sharing positive stories and making them aware of their rights.


Irina Thiery

I am currently living in Bucharest, Romania. I lived in Boston for about 16 years where I worked as a video producer for a small production company. I moved back to Romania in August 2009, after the birth of my first child.

Childbirth is still a traumatic experience in Romania.  Poor patient education and women’s empowerment, outdated medical protocols, and a sad history of abuse during Communism have shaped childbirth as an institutionalized, rigid event disconnected from notions like fundamental human rights, family, physiology.

180,000 women give birth annually in Romania. There will always be times when things will go wrong, but the care women receive shouldn’t depend on neigher where nor when they give birth. Women, regardless of their choice of birth method, should always be treated with respect and empathy. Birth is a miracle, not a disease!

In 2013 I founded Lion Mentor Association, a NGO that fights for women’s rights at birth. Basically what the association does is informing women of their options at birth through documentaries, screenings with Q&A and public debates all over the country, as well as through articles online on our website.

In 2014, being mom and a filmmaker, I produced “Audacity of Childbearing” the first Romanian documentary describing the traumatic/abusive medical practices in Romania. The documentary raises awareness and educates women about their rights at birth, helps women overcome their fear of childbirth, and educates medical staff to treat birth kindly and with empathy.  The documentary was screened in 22 cities around the country.

In 2015 I produced the first Romanian documentary about breastfeeding “Audacity of Breastfeeding”

And last, but not least, I’m about to launch (next month) the first Romanian documentary about introducing solid foods to babies.