Disadvantaged Pregnant Women in Communities

Jane
Posted July 15, 2019 from South Africa

As I take a walk every Saturday morning to the mall closer to where I live. I will be greeted by different women from neighboring squatter camps, who woke up early mornings to come stand on the street by the mall entrance with a hope to find daily piece jobs to support their family. Males and females will greet you with a smile hoping to receive a positive response from you saying "please follow me, I have a cleaning or garden job for you today"  The painful part is that, you could walk there 3 times a day till late afternoon and you would see same faces still staring at you not given up hope for the day till dawn, where they will again walk 10 km going back home empty handed.

The worse painful experience, was to see a pregnant person waving hoping that you will give them that piece job for the day, and that makes you wonder, this is a way of finding a ob in preparation for the coming baby and makes you aware that if surely there was hope and support, this woman wouldn't be sitting on the street begging for the job, worse to sit there the whole day without anything to eat, that really made my heart to bleed. I know my pocket is not deep but i vouched to myself and my God and said, whatever small I can give back to this community of Olieven I will surely do. I might not have a job or factory to employ them but I will spare that slice of bread to keep them going for the day. I decided to start buying loaves of bread and mixed Oros and other juice, mix few tins of fish making it saucy to have with bread, took my chair and small table and go to their corner and start feeding them. 

As i continue doing this, I had an opportunity talking to the pregnant women (as we know, pregnancy and babies are a very delicate topic) especially when we living in this crazy society where babies are stolen, you need to be careful how you engage the conversation. That's where I found out that some of the pregnant ladies they are not even registered for any postnatal and antenatal let alone visiting clinics. 1st they had no idea how healthy they are to be carrying that baby, if the baby is growing well in their womb, if Hiv or high blood pressure etc of which this could have a terrible effect in baby development. I started with the topic and to get to know them better. Their most fear was because they were in South Africa illegally with no papers hence they feared to register in an of their nearest clinics.  

I found out about the organisation called flourish where I decided to be their volunteer ambassador to be trained for antenatal and postnatal to possible have an in depth knowledge to help them. I also inquired at the local clinics to see how they can assist them because the baby's growth might be at stake. with that help, we managed to register some of the "brave" to start attending clinics whereas some were still afraid to be deported, it was unfortunate I couldn't continue with Flourish programme as I realized this training was only to benefit me and flourish BUT not the community as they were expected to pay the certain amount and my thought told me, if they cannot afford a loaf of bread for their families how would they afford to pay for such services. Myself and my friend decided to share whatever parental experience we had, especially to those who feared to go to the clinic I arranged for them. To continue sharing good nutrition food that would benefit both mother and child, home visitation to check their living arrangements, hygienic and cleanness, exercise etc. Making sure we get request baby clothes donations from closest friends and neighboring churches to make sure their babies arrive safely, social worker home visit and clinical nurse to visit their home as they couldn't take themselves to the clinic due to fear. 

Though the process is not that easy but making sure that we support and empower pregnant women to have a well pregnancy and give their children the best start in life in a healthy and clean environment no matter the circumstance. I guess with more support, we can help every woman/mother to live a healthy lifestyle, it is said, when you empower a woman, you empower the nation. These same women regardless of their living condition, if empowered, their family lifestyle could change for the better, with or without a deep pocket.

This story was submitted in response to Our Bodies, Our Health.

Comments 10

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Jill Langhus
Jul 15
Jul 15

Hi Jane,

Thanks for sharing another wonderful volunteering experience that you undertook. How come you decided to stop volunteering there? It sounds like it was rewarding for you as well as the girls/women. Anyway, it's great that you did it, nonetheless. I'm sure these girls/women were very grateful to you.

Hope you're having a great day, dear!

Jane
Jul 15
Jul 15

Hi Jill, thank you for thank you for your response. I would have continued if my training was going to be of benefit to the community in question, however, it wasn't because I had to remain the Ambassador under the organisation and whoever was to be trained or requesting antenatal and postnatal training had to pay a fee, looking at the community financial and living conditions, there was no way they could afford such services. I could benefit with the experience given but I couldn't use or transfer that experience at my ow accord since I had to sign an agreement of not giving such training outside that organisation even if I would have loved to extend this service at my own expense.

Jill Langhus
Jul 16
Jul 16

Hello dear,

You're very welcome:-) Oh, I see:-( That makes sense.

How long is the agreement good for, i.e., can you use the training now?

Hope you're having a great week:-)

Hello, Sister Jane,

You have a heart of gold. You are very observant to your surroundings, sensitive to the needs of others, and passionate to help them.

Thank you for sharing your story. Good luck on your submission!

Jane
Jul 15
Jul 15

Thank you kindly sister Karen. Humbled

You’re welcome, sister!

Tamarack Verrall
Aug 12
Aug 12

Hi Jane,
This is tremendous work. Your own values and priorities shine through brilliantly. I so appreciate your commitment to provide support without charge, so that the women who need it the most are not turned away.

Jane
Aug 12
Aug 12

Thank you Tamarack, we are all human and we all to need to be treated as such, respected as mothers of the nation.

DrSpirit
Sep 24
Sep 24

Hello Jane,

I am so very proud of you for all your work to help those in need, especially pregnant women. Whenever I hear stories like these I want to offer my expertise to help. The environment is my passion.

If there is any land available at a church or vacant land, then putting in gardens may help with providing food. Not sure it they have tried this. Yet greenspace provides so many benefits for Health and Wellbeing of the people. Pregnancy outcomes are one of the benefits. Here is a website that has great information.

https://www.epa.gov/enviroatlas/enviroatlas-eco-health-relationship-browser

Here are some links to put in a community garden.

https://www.seewhatgrows.org/start-community-garden-neighborhood/

https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/starting-community-garden-how-p...

Abundant Blessings, Dr Liz

Jane
Oct 01
Oct 01

Dr Spirit
Thank you most kindly for your encouragement and your guidance through these links is noted with appreciated. It is overwhelming and motivating to be encouraged to do good with others especially the disadvantaged. Thanks once more