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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Brielle

Funding Women Fuels Families: Our Tanzanian Projects

Dearest Wombs of the World community,

 

Greetings from Tanzania! This is now our fifth year coming back to this beautiful country. And it is the first year that Wombs of the World Foundation, the 501(c)(3) branch we started last March, is able to fund community-led initiatives. Our relationships with clinics and Maasai women deepen year after year. Last week, a group of birthworkers and Maasai women sat in a circle to talk about all things birth, marriage, children, sex. We laughed, we learned, we connected over our shared humanity despite our wildly different backgrounds.

 

And that is what I love so much about birthwork. As the wonderful doula Chantell Hill from the last group put it, culture is dynamic, but birth is universal. And despite the ugliness happening in the world around us- the next generation still needs to be born and deserves to be born into a loving and peaceful environment.

 

My commitment to the mission has never been stronger. I firmly believe that by supporting, empowering, educating, connecting, and uplifting birthworkers, we are nurturing the guardians of maternal health. We are cultivating the caretakers who will lovingly support mothers in their journeys. Mothers are the pulsing heart of every family and the pillars of our communities. By standing with mothers, we enhance the wellbeing of entire family ecosystems. It's like tending to a garden; the care we provide to these nurturers ensures the flourishing of life around them.


After our circle with the Maasai women came to a close, a few women approached me and handed me an envelope with a typed letter, addressed to me, translated into English, asking for financial assistance to get a sewing collective started. I was touched and grateful that they trust Wombs of the World enough, the consistency of our presence enough, the connection between women enough, to put the energy into this request. They have organized themselves with a chairman, treasurer, and secretary. I told them I would be happy to support them, I would just need an itemized list of what they need, how much funding, and what they would do with it. I know better than to hand a lot of cash over to a woman knowing her husband is likely to take it.





A few days later, I received a text with a photo of another typed piece of paper with the itemized list with their request. For all their supplies plus paying the women, their total request is around $700. For every woman in the boma (community) to be employed in the collective, they need an additional $1300. So their total request was under $2000.

 

When you invest in women, they invest in their families. They feed their kids and send them to school.

 

Later today, three of the women will join me in the city of Arusha, and I will help them buy the material they need. This way, we are ensuring the money is properly spent!

 

That being said - THANK YOU. We raised over $1000 with our Instagram fundraiser and this is what we needed to get started. If you could like to contribute, please do! Donate HERE.

 

We also had wonderful meetings with the directors of the hospitals where we work, and brainstormed for hours on how Wombs of the World can support the women and children in their communities. Some asks were small and so easily accessible, like heated blankets (because there are no neonatal incubators to keep babies warm), or bilirubin lights to help jaundiced babies. Other ideas are big and creative and speak to our shared vision of a long-lasting partnership between birthworkers from around the world and these rural clinics in Karatu, Tanzania.


I feel like I have been fairly silent recently as I sit with the double-edged sword of tourism. I am in denial that Wombs of the World is essentially a tour operator because I am a birthworker! I am heartbroken watching the effects of tourism on indigenous cultures, with languages and practices dying so rapidly to cater to the English-speaking, wealthy western world. Therefore, I want Wombs of the World to have a different kind of impact. I want for everyone who touches it, whether it be our beautiful travelers, or our project partners, or the women in the clinics in Tanzania, or the beautiful community in the highlands of Ecuador, I want for everyone to benefit. I want for us to spread far and wide the crusade of improving maternal health outcomes. Of honoring the ceremony that is birth. Of bringing attention and awareness to the art of caring for new families. Of humbly respecting the portals that are life and death. Of doing what we can to preserve indigenous knowledge and culture.

 

And with that, Wombs of the World Foundation is dedicated to supporting community-led initiatives and to watching the magic of what happens when you put funding into the hands of midwives!

 

Wombs of the World and the Foundation are growing rapidly yet steadily! There is momentum to this movement and I am looking for more brilliant minds and hearts to get involved. We need mentors, volunteers, and soon we will be hiring to expand our team.

 

If you have been on a trip, or feel called to be part of this global collective, please fill out our Council of Crones interest form. You do not need to be a crone to apply; it is more so symbolic of the wisdom that comes with time and experience. The council will meet every other month to discuss ideas, give feedback, and pool our magic to bring these big visions to life. If you are interested, please APPLY HERE.

 

We are just getting started... There are beautiful collaborations and growth unfolding by the second. I have much more to fill you in on, but that will wait for the next newsletter.

 

With all my gratitude,

 

Charlotte




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