It has never been easy to be a mom. I don’t speak from personal experience, of course, because I’m a guy, but my mom had five kids and as I remember, it was no walk in the park. Here in the southern part of the Philippines comes a new breed of mothers whose vision and mission are one.
The “Modern Nanays of Mindanao” is an organization led by mothers from all over the island that provides support to upcoming mommy’s, sharing, and encouraging each other and paying it forward to others.
Armed with experience and modern techniques they educate new mothers of the 21st century of how to deal with their first baby. From the time they are pregnant, to the moment of labor and birth, and so on.
“Modern Nanays of Mindanao” is a recognized breastfeeding support group that protects, promotes and supports ideal infant and young child feeding and care to lay the best foundations lifelong health,” Nadine Casiño said.
As a group they advocate the practice of breastfeeding, use of cloth diapers and the art of baby wearing. They are a group of mothers from all walks of life who are creating a culture – Instilling in each other their mission.
“A mission of placing our children’s health and wellness of utmost priority,” she added.
Their main goal is to empower mothers to have informed choices and to connect mothers to each other to have that enabling, supportive environment that will facilitate the ideal growth and development of a child. With information that are not laden with any conflict of interest, where families get to choose practices that are evidence based and are backed up with experiences.
Recently, the group launched a program for mothers who were affected by the Marawi incident. They partnered with the private and public sectors to provide aid to displaced mothers and their children.
Through the various group involved in the program they managed to execute and deliver relief goods to the victims plague by war.
“We distributed 567 malong care packs, set up baby friendly tents, fed hot fresh meals, distributed donated human breastmilk and educated the health workers and mother IDPs (Internally Displaced People) on malnutrition screening and proper infant and young child feeding,” she said.
Adding that, the relief packs were a “Bayanhihan” effort of individuals and private businesses. Although untrained responders; they were mothers who knew what babies and mothers needed in times of emergencies. Through a concerted effort, they were able to distribute the relief goods and created community kitchens in cooperation with the Moropreneur Inc.,.
The group also provides nutrition interventions, primarily on education and support of ideal infant and young child feeding.
“Our main targets are mothers who are pregnant, lactating and the children below five years of age,” Nadine said.
The experience they had with the evacuees from Marawi was something the group would never forget.
“The experience was humbling. It allowed us to become more empathetic and compassionate to those around us. It made us realize that alone we are limited but together we can make a difference,” Nadine shares.
It also brought about a touching story about a 2 year old girl who had acute malnutrition.
Sharing that Nadine offered the child’s mother her own breastmilk out of concern, as she was not responding to substitute milk and other interventions – she was very weak, and could not stand on her own (Nadine describes).
Nadine donated her own milk knowing that it was light on the stomach and had complete nutrients and anti-infective properties that could help.
“We saw how bad she was affected by the crisis. Seeing her almost at the brink of death but slowly nursed back to health was the greatest miracle I saw in our interventions,” she recalls.
As an organization who participated in the Marawi crisis and as mothers they have one wish.
“Our vision for Marawi is for them to protect their children. Invest in them who have blank slates. Teach them kindness, show them compassion, and Invest in their health,” she shares.
“If they are to be a phoenix rising from the ashes, the best way to start is through the children of Marawi, to have faith, resilience and hope. They are malleable and can still be shaped. They have no voices yet, so let us not forget the little children of Marawi,” Nadine concluded.
To know more about the Modern Nanay’s of Mindanao visit there facebook page at @ModernNanaysOfMindanao, firstname.lastname@example.org, they also accept donations in cash or in kind. We wish to help share our knowledge about our experiences in handling infants and young children feeding in emergency situation and others and to help build guidelines and policies to be prepared for future crisis.