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Mama Jaja's Birth Doula and Activist Training

Organized by: Ashley Main

Ashley's Photo


I'm currently training to become a certified professional birth doula and activist, and I am asking for help to further my education so I can better serve pregnant and laboring women. While certification (and in fact any training at all) is not required to work as a doula, I think the process forms an important foundation. I've already completed the most important aspect of certification and training-a 26 hour intensive birth doula workshop held by toLabor, the organizer through which I am seeking certification. You can learn more about toLabor here:

Now I am asking for $300 to purchase the books on my required reading list, which will go on to become my lending library for pregnant women. Additionally, I am seeking for $515 for two other workshops on acupressure for labor and pregnancy and perinatal loss and traumatic grief, both extremely important topics to round my education and help me provide better support. It will also cost between $40 and $100 per night (1 night for each workshop) for a room through airbnb. Lastly, I want to a rebozo (traditional Mexican scarf used in pregnancy and labor) for about $100 and a few birth balls for around $50. That brings my total goal to $1,165!

But, what is a doula, anyway, and why are doulas so important? A birth doula is someone who provides physical, emotional and educational support to a woman and her partner during labor and in the prenatal and postpartum period, supporting and empowering women and couples to find their voice and make informed decisions about this important time and process, while also providing personal continuity of care that is lacking in the current model of care.

While most organizations cite doula as a Greek work meaning servant or slave, toLabor (and I) love the Ethiopian meaning of the word dula- a walking stick. A doula is not there to do the work for a woman, she is there to walk with her and hold the space as stays on her path toward becoming a mother.

One study recently found that, "Overall, women who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and C-sections. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth."

I want to work as a doula because, based on my own study and the amazing natural births of my two children as well as the honor of attending my friend's home birth, I believe every woman deserves compassion, support and education. I respect and revere the profound and natural process of bringing life into this world, and my hope is for more women to find their power and let go of their fears as they journey towards becoming a parent.

As many of you know, I live in Nairobi, Kenya. What you may not know is that in some hospitals in Nairobi, the cesarean section rate is as high as 48%. The WHO states that rates above 10-15% indicate medically unjustified use, leading to potentially negative physical and emotional outcomes for both mother and baby (more on that here There are also increasing rates of induction and other medically unnecessary interventions and management of the natural birth process, which have far reaching effects on health, breastfeeding success and a woman's view of herself and her capabilities as a mother.

I believe passionately in a woman's right to access of information and informed consent, as well as her right birth as she desires, without the looming threat of arbitrary timetables and surprise episiotomies. This is a fundamental human right. As part of my practice, I plan to offer free informal group educational sessions. Currently, there are only a handful of doulas working in Nairobi.

Thank you for taking the time to get to know my cause, and please share this! Below are the links to the workshops I want to take.


If you don't have a credit card or pay pall, consider donating directly to me through western union (to Ashley Main in Lexington, Virginia) and sending me the info via private message on facebook or at



4% Raised of $1,165 Goal

  • Lauren Benedetti


Organized by

Ashley Main

This is a direct to organizer fundraiser.

Donor Comments

Lauren Benedetti

Lauren Benedetti

I am very moved by your dedication to helping other women. Wishing you the best of luck in raising money and carrying out this process. 2 years ago

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