“Whatever I have to do, I’ll find a way!”
Rhowena Adolfo Patel, founder of Healing Mama™ Co. wants the expectant and new mothers of Ukraine to know they are magical, they have all the natural power and ability to be their best through birth and postpartum. She also wants them to know, their babies will be perfect despite the situation they are in.
This Innovation Guelph, Rhyze Ventures program client, is revolutionizing the childbirth industry through their creation of its first medically backed, prepackaged, ready-to-go kits and bundles. Healing Mama™ Co. is providing easy and affordable access to childbirth and postpartum parental care products. One of their three pillars since the beginning is giving back directly to vulnerable expectant and parents in underserved communities.
Entrepreneur Inspired to Action
When Patel saw news footage on February 27 of newborns in a makeshift hospital basement bunker, wrapped in blankets on cots, she was filled with questions like where are their mothers? What the heck is happening there? “I started thinking about it and wondering who could help me to help them. I thought of my IG mentor Hari Stirbet who is from Romania, so I contacted him.”
Stirbet connected Patel with the Mennonite Central Committee Canada. That connection started a web of networking through supportive organizations that eventually led to the College of Remote Medicine. Patel is now working to send 100 Essential Labour and Post-Partum kits to the Ukraine. “Our products are considered medical aid so Raising Hope for Ukraine, who works primarily with women and children, is assisting us with logistics to ship them from Canada to the Ukraine,” Patel said.
Meeting Challenges with Determination
Patel said she has encountered three main challenges in her work to help expectant and new parents in the Ukraine.
- Finding a team she could send the kits to who will get them directly into the hands of pregnant or new moms.
- Getting the kits shipped and working out the logistical aspects.
- Obtaining sponsorship to fund the bags and their contents.
Healing Mama Co. began their Ukraine Giving Campaign on March 17 with several levels of sponsorship so people can contribute what they can. Her team has volunteered countless hours with their passion and dedication reducing costs. Most recently, Patel found a translator who helped by translating the guides and information cards to Ukrainian at a reduced rate and with a quick turnaround.
“I just look at the challenges as I need to find the people and resources to make this happen,” Patel said. “I even contacted UPS and am following up on some of their suggestions.” She said staying organized helps. “Whatever I have to do, I’ll find a way and explore all the options.”
The products in the bags are from trusted sources and Patel has reached out to them inviting them to contribute extra products for the Ukraine Giving Campaign. She said she has also received some surprising support from an Instagram influencer who shared her sponsorship of a bag with her audience. Next, a small community near Kingston – Bath, ON – put together a raffle of local business products to raise money and in turn build community. “Healing Mama would not exist without community,” Patel said. The company has always supported vulnerable expectant and new parents with proceeds from the kits they sell. They’ve also collected gently used items to add to their kits although that won’t be part of the Ukraine Campaign because of shipping costs.
Patel said, “It’s incredible what people will do when they know the kits are getting directly into the hands of brand-new parents.” Helping to distribute the kits is Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital (PFVMH) who will receive the first 100 Essential Labour & Postpartum Bags. Updates will be shared on the organization’s website. Patel is determined to meet her goal. “I will send 100 kits. We have 20 currently and I am aiming for April 5.”
Estimates predict 250,000 women will give birth in the Ukraine in the next three months. At a minimum, Patel would like to support one per cent. “My heart’s desire is to support 10 per cent,” she said. “I’ll have done what is humanly possible to support them during this devastating war. And if bigger organizations work with us, we will increase our impact.”