Scholarship for Black Student Midwives
UPDATE - August 10, 2020:
Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far! At Nizhoni, we are currently looking at scholarship application for our incoming Freshman class. I am struck by how amazing and committed this group of students is, and also how much need there is. Please share the link to this fundraiser widely among your networks. Our goal is to be able to give a meaningful scholarship to each of our 6 scholarship applicants so that none of them are shut out of meeting their goals due to a lack of funds. As one applicant said:
“My dad had to work and live far from us because of a lack of good paying jobs, so my mom was a single working mother. My childhood and upbringing were nothing but an inspiration for me to work hard and be appreciative. However, money was the reason why it took me so many years to decide to apply for the program. I don’t want money to get in the way of my life’s dream!”
This is such an inspiring group of students! They will all have a tremendous impact if they are able to become midwives. No donation is too small, so please, give what you can. Then, please share this link widely to your contacts and on all your social media accounts. I thank you, Nizhoni thanks you, and the recipients thank you. Most importantly, all the people whose lives will be impacted by people who became midwives as a direct result of your generosity will thank you for years to come.
Here are some quotes from their scholarship applications explaining why they want to become midwives and how they intend to use their midwifery training:
“Why do I want to go into midwifery as a woman of color? Because the ability to practice was taken from women using race and class, and only about 6% of midwives in California are Hispanic”
“The work of a midwife has played a massive part in history, and with the pandemic exposing a high demand for midwives, we have the opportunity to shape the future for women … While women’s rights can be addressed in many ways, I will use my midwifery education to inspire women in my community to hold each other accountable for change.”
“With this skill-set I plan to serve and advocate for the communities of the hopeless; the communities of the ‘voiceless’ and of racial and cultural disparities.”
“My community has been historically impacted by improper health care, nutrition, food, housing access, and mental health support, all of which impacts our birth outcomes … I have endless stories of the hurt that has been caused to birthing people in my community, to their children, and their families. I know that I cannot undue this hurt and I also know that I can offer a different experience as a midwife. I know I can help reduce the harm these systems have caused us through this work.”
We asked for examples of engagement with their community, and prior birthwork involvement:
“Through my work as a student leader, I advocated for more resources for student cultural organizations and for better student support from administrators … and collaborated with student leaders of other cultural organizations to promote solidarity and advocate together as student leaders of color.”
“The classes have grown and reached over 5000 people all across the US in community spaces and universities. My work has been recognized in different forms across the years from publications to interviews. I’ve been asked to sit on panels with leading experts in environmental, birth, and food justice. Beyond all this recognition, the most profound ways my work has been honored has been in all the stories and testimonials where people share how my work has impacted them and their families. Being seen and appreciated by my community has been one of the biggest blessings of this process.”
“I have spent a lot of time serving the teen parent community through providing no-cost doula and birth education s services – partnering with organizations like No Silence, No Violence, YMCA – Turning Point, and local faith communities. I have also served our military families through a local organization that provides free doula service to families with deployed partners.”
Our applicants are teachers, doulas, and experts in traditional plant medicine. They create safe spaces for healing and learning, and provide trauma remediation to adults and children through yoga and other experiential methods. They are committed to black, indigenous, and people of color as individuals and communities. I am in awe of what they have already accomplished. AND, as with any natural disaster, Covid-19 has hit hardest in the communities already experiencing the greatest need. As part of those communities, what seemed possible when they started the application process is suddenly out of reach:
“As many others have, I lost all of my yoga and elementary school teaching work on March 13, 2020 and during the following days. A couple of non life-threatening health issues drained what was left of my savings. By today’s date, I have lost all of my income with none for the foreseeable future. However, I still have two children to care for and a home to run. Although the giant pause of Covid-19 has given me the blessing and clarity in knowing and embracing the path of midwifery, it has also left me with nothing with which to fund it.”
“My husband works and I have some income from doula work, but we still fall well below the poverty line as a family of 6. With childcare and living expenses – tuition help would be a tremendous load off our family and allow me to really put my energy and effort into school and continuing to serve our community while completing the program.”
“I am working to support myself, however my income was impacted by Covid-19. I’ve been working full-time at one job and working part-time at a different job. The financial burden of tuition may lessen my ability to participate in a preceptorship and will take away time from focusing on my studies.”
You can change someone's life today.
Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery is an accredited 3 year non-profit institute providing current, relevant, and clinically robust education in the art and science of midwifery. We are committed to improving outcomes in birth and health care in the United States and throughout the world. Our graduates are prepared to function as independent care providers for pregnant and birthing clients and newborns, and go on to become Certified Professional Midwives licensed in their home states.
The US maternal mortality rate currently stands among the lowest ranked in the industrialized world. These abysmal figures are in large part driven by African-American, Native American and Alaska Native women who are about three times more likely to die from causes related to pregnancy than white women in the United States. A year ago, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists acknowledged that racial bias within the health care system is contributing to the disproportionate number of pregnancy-related deaths among minority women. The patient centered and respectful care provided by midwives has been shown to reduce racially based disparities both in maternal mortality and preterm birth rates. Care provided by midwives of the same racial and cultural background further increases well being and optimal outcomes in communities affected by racism and bias.
Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery is committed to expanding access to midwifery education for aspiring midwives of color in order to ensure that all communities have midwives that share their experience. We are fundraising to extend the reach of the Nizhoni Grand Challenge Scholarship which has provided a full 3 year scholarship to an incoming student of color every year since 2017. The contribution of our first Student Sponsor, Acorn Birth Center in Fallbrook CA, gave us the flexibility to extend an additional half scholarship to a student of color in need of financial assistance to stay in school and complete their midwifery education. Nizhoni, our students, and their future clients are all grateful for your donation of any size.