10 Years of Doulas: Flora's Love!
Updated: Sep 11, 2018
Shanti Uganda, a Network Partner of ours, loves doulas! Shanti was founded by a doula, works with doulas, and spends one week every year collaborating with doulas doing training retreats. The work doulas do—the emotional and physical support they provide before, during and after birth—fits perfectly within Shanti’s holistic model of care. Their positive impact on empowering women through the birthing process is undeniable.
Though Shanti Uganda was founded 10 years ago by Natalie Angell-Besseling while she was volunteering as a doula in Uganda, it wasn’t until 2012 that Shanti hosted its first annual doula training retreat. Participants from around the world join these retreats to learn about traditional birth methods, herbal medicine, birth positions, breastfeeding techniques, and other topics. The next one will be at Shanti's Luwero district birth center in mid-October.
These retreats also gave Shanti their first and current in-house doula: Flora. She has been with Shanti since the beginning in various roles, but always with a love for supporting birthing mothers. “Since I was young, I wanted to be a midwife,” she says. “When the training came to be a doula, my heart was very, very happy. I was so pleased.”
Before joining Shanti, Flora was a Traditional Midwife like her grandmother. When she was young she often went to her grandmother's house to watch her work and help any way she could. Flora got official training as a Traditional Birth Attendant in 1995. She continued this work until she met Natalie in 2008, when Shanti opened in Kasana Village. Since then she has been an integral part of the Shanti family, now teaching local mothers family planning, nutrition, and prenatal yoga while being a doula.
When asked how many births she has supported, Flora laughs: "I can't count...there are so many!" Even after all the mothers she has supported through pregnancy, she keeps the same passion for helping. After all, she says, the most important thing for a doula is to have a heart of love. "A doula has to love mothers". It's no surprise when she says, "I love what I do!"
Shanti is looking forward to welcoming 13 doula trainees in October. To learn more about their retreats or to volunteer at Shanti Uganda: www.shantiuganda.org.
Blog generously provided by Shanti Uganda and edited by Kay Sandberg