When I found myself on the same email thread with Natalie Angell-Besseling, Founder and Executive Director of Shanti Uganda, I knew that I wanted to find out more about this local mama. She helped start a charity that provides safe women-centered care and supports the well-being of birthing mothers and women living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Their projects include a Women’s Income Generating Group and a Birth House, among others. Shanti Uganda’s Birth House offers educational workshops for midwives and traditional birth attendants, as well as preventative care, birth supplies and assistance for birthing women. They’re also working hard to reduce HIV/AIDS transmission rates from mothers to their babies.
I interviewed Natalie for a podcast, and I was even more inspired. I encourage you to take a listen for yourself. I decided that I wanted to do what I could to help Shanti Uganda achieve its vision. So when Natalie got in touch with me and told me about the Birth Partners project, the Birth Partners Push was born.
Uganda is a country where poverty has left its mark and millions of children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. With a tremendous shortage of health care workers, maternal health in Uganda is in need of critical support. 1 in 22 women in rural areas die giving birth and 18% of new HIV infections occur from mother to child. The Birth Partners program helps ensure that the Birth House receives stable funding, ensuring that women have access to a dedicated team of midwives. We’re asking mom bloggers to help us spread the word. Natalie says, “Not only is Shanti Uganda providing a safe, empowering environment for women to give birth, but we are defying the statistics. 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.”
When I look at what Natalie is doing, I feel kind of sheepish about all the time I spend whining about how I don’t want to clean my kitchen.
Through the Birth Partners Push we’re inviting bloggers to stand in solidarity with birthing mothers in Uganda. Help us create awareness about the challenges facing pregnant women in Uganda and use your voice to inspire others to work with us to create better birthing conditions and in turn, save lives. If you could write a post between September 17-30, 2012, featuring your personal passion for maternal health and sharing information about the Birth Partners program we’d be very grateful. Contact me, and I’ll pass along the info.