Our Top 5 Highlights in 2017

2017 has been a year full of milestones and with the Holiday Season upon us, we have put together a list of our Top 5 Highlights from the year that’s been!

1. Our Celebration Evening & AGM

Our team with Angela Gallo at this year's Celebration Evening

Our team with Angela Gallo at this year’s Celebration Evening

It is uplifting, inspiring and energising to be surrounded by a room full of people as passionate about your work as you are, which made our Celebration Evening & AGM our favourite night on the calendar. The opportunity to mingle with our wonderful volunteer doulas, our supporters, our board of directors and to hear from some incredibly vibrant, passionate and inspiration women in Carly Lord, Nafisa and Elizabeth, as well as birth passionista and ‘womb warrior’ Angela Gallo, made it a night to remember.

Spending a night in the majestic Queen Vic Women’s Centre for the second year running also allowed us to see how much our community has grown over the past year and we are so grateful to all of those who came to celebrate what a wonderful year it’s been. To those who weren’t able to be there we hope to see you next year!

2. Bicultural Doula Recruitment & Training

Our bicultural doulas with trainers Tanya & Jenn

Our bicultural doulas with trainers Tanya & Jenn

40% of our clients are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and we strongly believe that our doulas should be as diverse as the women we support. Thanks to all of the people who voted and donated as part of our My Giving Circle campaign in September, we were able to support eight women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to undertake their foundational doula training with DONA International last month.

These eight incredible women speak 12 languages between them, including Arabic, French, Spanish, Turkish, Dari, Oromo and Pidgin, and have professional backgrounds as nurses, midwives, school teachers, massage therapists and interpreters. Each of them brings a wealth of knowledge and unwavering desire to support pregnant and birthing women and we know they’re going to make such amazing doulas! Next year we will be supporting these women to complete their doula certification through DONA, before they join our team of volunteer doulas and start working with women as part of our Doula Support Program. We look forward to introducing them to you over the coming months.

3. First submission to a Parliamentary Inquiry

Elizabeth, Rebeccah, Kirstan and Jen presenting at the Perinatal Services Inquiry

Elizabeth, Rebeccah, Kirstan and Jen presenting at the Perinatal Services Inquiry

For the first time in our short history, we made a submission to a Parliamentary Inquiry as part of the Victorian Inquiry into Perinatal Services. Parliamentary inquiries offer a great opportunity for people in the community and organisations like ours to be heard and to shape public health policy.

Making a submission formed part of our broader mission at Birth for Humankind to advocate for a more inclusive maternal health system and improved outcomes for birthing women through continuous and culturally competent birth support. We’re really looking forward to seeing what recommendations come forth over the coming months.

4. Lots of new supporters

We ran our annual fundraising campaign in March to coincide with World Doula Week and were delighted to receive just over $9000 in tax deductible donations from 100 individual donors towards our Doula Support Program.In addition to the funds raised, another really positive outcome of the campaign was the awareness raised about Birth for Humankind, which resulted in a 400% increase in new referrals the following month for women in need of support.

The wonderful new doulas we could induct as a result of your support

The wonderful new doulas we could induct as a result of your support

The money we raised during World Doula Week went straight into the recruitment, training and supervision of 10 new doulas to keep up with the demand! A big, big thank you to everyone who donated, spread the word and engaged with the stories we’ve put together on the women and families we work with throughout the year. Every single week we are reminded of how much this work is needed in our community and we couldn’t do it without you.

We’d also like to make special mention of the businesses, foundations and trusts who have so generously provided pro-bono support or jumped on board as funding partners including Victorian Women’s Trust, Flemington Rotary Club, Darebin City Council Community Support Program and Northmost Studio. To see a list of our amazing funders and supporters click here, and if you’d like to become one of them get in touch!

5. The amazing women we have been able to support

Last but by no means least, the highlight for each and every team member is the women and families we have the honour of supporting.

The faces of the amazing women and families we've supported this year

The faces of the amazing women and families we’ve supported this year

These women, their resilience, their strength, their courage and their determination are the reason we all show up to work every day. From Farzana to Nafisa to Elsy, we are privileged to have been part of your pregnancy, birth and early parenting journeys. We will keep doing what we do as long as there are people like you who can benefit from the support we provide.

~~~

There you have it – our Top 5 Highlights of 2017! While we will officially be shutting down over the Christmas/New Year period, we know that women do not stop having babies during this time! So we want to give a big shout out to all of our volunteer doulas and the women they’re supporting over the next couple of weeks as they bring their babies into the world. And, if you’ve got this far, thank YOU for your support, encouragement and engagement this year. Bring on 2018!