Become a Birth Partner for Shanti Uganda
Back when I was planning Eric’s home birth, I knew that there were lots of things that I wanted for my labor and birth.
I wanted to give birth in the water. I wanted to give birth surrounded by the people who loved me, the people who I wanted there with me. I even wanted silly things, like the chance to wear my hot pink wrap skirt, and my Christmas trees all lit up and festive during my labor, and maybe even a big delicious meal waiting for me after Eric was born.
But mostly I wanted a peaceful birth. A respected birth. A safe birth.
And I didn’t deserve a peaceful or respected or safe birth any more than any other woman. I didn’t deserve access to skilled maternity care providers and sterilized birth equipment more than any other woman. Not any more than a mother who lives down the street from me, and not any more than a woman who lives across the ocean from me. Not any more than a teen mother, not any more than a poor mother, and not any more than a mother who is living with HIV/AIDS.
Every mother deserves a peaceful, respected, and safe birth.
Recently, Amber Strocel from Strocel.com contacted me to see if I could help promote a Vancouver-based charity for whom she is volunteering: Shanti Uganda. Shanti Uganda is committed to giving the mothers and babies of Uganda exactly what I think all moms and babies deserve: a peaceful, respected, and safe birth. And the work they are doing is pretty incredible.
What does Shanti Uganda do?
Shanti Uganda promotes infant and maternal health in Uganda through a variety of means, including but not limited to:
- offering woman-centered maternity care to pregnant and birthing women living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda
- staffing the Shanti Uganda Birth House with a team of Ugandan midwives, a traditional birth assistant, and a lab technician
- running prenatal education classes, a community garden program, a health and wellness program for teen women, and a Women’s Income Generating Group, all from the Birth House
- providing safe birth kits for the birthing women they serve
Shanti Uganda is committed to sustainable living and community participation. But more than that, they are committed to respecting traditional knowledge about birth–the knowledge that woman and traditional midwives has passed down through the generations–and helping all birthing women to feel empowered, no matter what their circumstances.
As Shanti Uganda Founder and Executive Director, Natalie Angell-Besseling states, “Over 100 women die giving birth in Uganda every week. Not only is Shanti Uganda providing a safe, empowering environment for women to give birth, but we are defying these statistics and creating a new norm for birthing women in Uganda. Of the over 100 women who have given birth at our centre in our almost two years of operation, 100% have left healthy, happy, and supported by our dedicated team of midwives.”
Those numbers are extraordinary indeed.
How can you support Shanti Uganda?
You can become a Birth Partner and support them with a regular monthly donation of $25, $50, or $100 (all prices in Canadian currency). Each level of giving helps the midwives who are a part of Shanti Uganda to provide prenatal, labor, and postpartum care for the women in their community.
Smaller donations, of course, are greatly appreciated too. But the regular monthly donations via the Birth Partner program help Shanti Uganda both to offer continuous support to the women they serve and to allay administrative costs that occur with less regular donations. It’s about stretching those dollars as far as they can go to help as many women and babies as they can!
If even $25 a month seems like a lot for your family, then don’t think that you can’t offer anything to Shanti Uganda. See if you can get together with a group of friends–other mothers, or even some of the midwives and doulas and other birthworkers in your community–and pool your funds together to make monthly contributions.
It only takes one small group of people–of mothers even–to make a world of difference in the lives of a mother and baby almost a world away.