Suad Farole (left) and Hawa Egal have been serving the Somali community in Seattle more than 20 years!
Suad Farole and Hawa Egal are both beloved members of the Somali community. As active members of their community, they saw an opportunity to engage in an impactful way: by becoming doulas with Open Arms Perinatal Services.
Doulas are trained community health workers who provide physical, emotional, and informational support to pregnant women before, during and after childbirth. Outreach doulas offered by Open Arms, have a unique ability to reach and work with communities affected by inequity.
As trusted members of the communities they serve, doulas are intermediaries between the health care and social services systems and community members, while helping to ensure that services are provided in a culturally-appropriate way.
As Somali Outreach Doulas, not only do Suad and Hawa provide support during birth, they meet with the family at their home during pregnancy, and after the baby arrives home – until the baby is 2 years old!
Suad Farole is an Outreach Doula at Open Arms, a mother of three, and a wife. This position allows her to work with the Somali women in her community.
She says, “being a doula is a one of my passions, especially working at Open Arms where women are being empowered every single day.” Each day she shows up at her job, she sees it as a blessing, and something she enjoys with deep gratitude.
Suad remembers that her client was happy to see a Somali doula who understands her culture, language and religion. “I show women that they can have a doula who understands them, who will stand by them when things get hard, and sometimes help them find their voice,” exclaims Suad. “As a doula, I am their friend and I build confidence as they share the most intimate time in their life. I value showing up for them in these times,” she adds.
Through this transformative relationship between the doulas and their Somali clients, the Outreach Doulas support parent-child attachment that ensures that child will thrive in his/her learning and readiness for kindergarten and beyond.
Hawa Egal is also a Community-based Outreach Doula, and a mother of three. At Open Arms, she met her true passion of both advocacy and empowerment. As a mother, Hawa shares what she’s learned through her experiences with her community, and notices how this work improves herself as well.
She “became a doula for the excitement of making a difference in the Somali community.” Noticing that there was a high cesarean rate that needed to be addressed, she acknowledges that her profession helps lower those statistics drastically, in addition to post-partum depression, and are much more likely to breastfeed. In short, she loves what she does.
Both Hawa and Suad deeply understands that often, Somali women are misunderstood, especially in light of the rise of Islamophobia. As advocates, they hear the voices of their clients, and see how their clients’ needs are not being met.
When trust has been violated with a provider, Hawa and Suad support a woman in having a smooth transition during her stay at the hospital or birth center, and help to close the gap between the patient and doctors. The Somali Outreach Doulas support the moms in increasing their self-awareness and personal advocacy skills, so the new moms can be strong and confident advocates for their children and families.
Through new funding from THRIVE, Suad and Hawa are able to deepen their impact on healthy and thriving children and moms in the Somali community.
Do you know someone who may be interested in being supported in this transformative way that supports healthy pregnancy, labor AND early childhood development? Both Suad and Hawa have the capacity to work with more women in the Somali community who are eligible for TANF/Workfirst. Open Arms is happy to support clients in connecting to TANF/Workfirst – and building a relationship with Suad and Hawa! Please contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.