RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION WITHIN THE BABY WORLD AND OTHER BABY related organization.
You might have wondered why it has been quiet with my work lately especially promoting and selling baby slings but also Organizing Carrying activities.
It has not been easy in the background, which is still not easy. Racism and5 discrimination and bullying was the biggest barrier, all of which never happened under the guise of ‘free market’ … In 2008 I was with my company Bereka during the World Breastfeeding Week in Amersfoort where parents came with their children to take part in a breastfeeding marathon I was part of it too.
I got a booth for a fee. There I stood with my slings. Mbereko and Torso Carrying. Opposite me was a company with a stand full of only stretchy wraps where children and newborns were worn like a kangaroo, Only front carry.
I did not see any other company with carrying systems. My stand was full of people because they were very curious about the African way of carrying babies. The pressure and ignorance of the parents and many other business owners in the baby and breastfeeding area was enough to know that carrying of babies was not yet known amongst Dutch, and otter Europeaan countries.
I had already been in the Vlaardingen newspaper because they had already seen me walking around with a newborn baby on my back. What was already very unusual at the time and seemed dangerous for the average Dutchman. After a lot of comments and sometimes compliments, I felt we should do something with it. Especially for an average mom. Because they were looking for answers. What I remember is that in the big stores there were only 2 types of danglers that were very uncomfortable if you were carrying a baby with them and the system did not offer any options to carry your baby on your back.
There were probably a number of alternative people who had ever made a trip to Africa or other so-called n.d. third countries. To help African children or to further complete their training as a doctor. Which, of course, no longer applies because of the truths of history. These alternatives (that is what they were called and found themselves) because babybearing was not yet, but not sufficiently promoted, and was unknown and considered only for poor countries human behavior. As far as I can remember, they had a small website that formed them as the Association of Wearing Consultants. At that time, there were almost no members. You could become a member and pay per month or per year. Have not done this. This association was founded to keep an eye on everything about baby carriers. But didn’t really run. Logically no one was carrying babies except some of the people I mentioned above. The same people are a circle of friends who do not easily admit people from outside. This is how I understood it from others who did not want to become members themselves and who had a lot of trouble. The same week I came back from the World Breastfeeding Week fair in Amersfoort organized by Chella Verhoeven, Stefan Kleintjes and Gonneke Veldhuizen of Eurolac. I am very grateful to all 3 of them. I have remained in conversation with them and especially have seen a lot up close. I went looking for the photos from that day and I was taken to a forum where they talk about breastfeeding. Carrying and feeding then under the old owner. There, some of my photos were shared without permission and people laughed at the way I stood with my buttocks explaining. Very insulting. To continue reading I had to register as a new member of the forum. I was not admitted there and told my husband. He advised me to use another name that was pure Netherlands. My name was known and that I was that African woman who apparently invaded the familiar world. Obviously, I was admitted in a few minutes.
But now I was a Ghost and couldn’t do anything with it, but I could read everything.
This did not make me feel good, but because I have always been in Leeds to see all the people. I did not lose my courage.
In 2008, I immediately started setting up an Academy Bereka, Bereka Academy in which I would train healthcare professionals to become a special baby carrying consultant who would then specifically learn how a Mbereko functions and how to wear Torso. Before that, I made sure that I followed a course that allowed me to certify other professionals.
The school had to be accredited. I understood right away from the VDC so I received a letter via email. Then I wondered why my school had to be accredited when the person did not yet know how it all worked out what I was going to do there.
I even recommend coming to him during a settlement day to demonstrate so we could work together. But unfortunately.
In the meantime I made all Torso wraps and Mbereko. It was also not easy to get all fabrics from Africa, so I investigated for something typically African and it turned out that there was a shop in Helmond that sold counterfeit African fabric to Africans, also something amazing. This is what they took from the Africans during slavery.
I promoted Babywearing and still do by organizing all kinds of activities. I was the first to enter a consultation office, a maternity department in hospitals and youth care organizations, while most raised complaints about these types of organizations. I had the first Babywearing Parade Benelux in 2009 and did this until 2014. In 2011 I came up with something new BabyCarryWorkout to properly show the safe way of Mbereko and also offer more options around Babywear because many parents who had children could not combine with playing sports or dancing. Instead of being trained and paid for a license, they started themselves and dangled with the newborn babies in front. Which is very dangerous if you did not follow the correct instructions. In the next episode. I would like to name a few names and would like to post some photos of people who have been inspired by my work and what I do. They also started.
The Mbereko I made immediately received a comment that it was dangerous to babies. That I could not use it at all. But in the meantime they came to see how I did it and because of that they expanded their association in exactly the same way as I did. I found it difficult to hide my work because I also had many parents who were interested and needed proper demonstration of Mbereko.
The association sent so-called professional emails in which this played a power game so that I could quit my company.
My husband and I were really amazed that they were able to treat other people like that.
I was really blocked everywhere. On hyves before Facebook, and in most forums and if I tried to answer sincere questions asked by ordinary parents. Trollers came who made your words something different.
I was completely blocked in groups and organizations pretending to be the protectors and for baby related programs. I was no longer invited anywhere. Within 1 year, a lot of wearer consultants were trained throughout the Netherlands and these ladies were already added a lot while they had little experience.
This has cost me a lot of money that I invested in the academy where I would train people to be a good African wearer. Also didn’t sell anything because of bad advice and still about my work. Meanwhile, the same people were secretly watching how I worked and taking over everything and making their packages and websites professional.
Until today. If I also advertised on Facebook, they somehow blocked me. Or bullying away.
Racism within the babywear association needs to be addressed. I was keen to work with the association to provide additional training or education to the consultants who were registered with them, however only a few who were not members came and some told me what was going on there. After attending a revival, some were bribed to pass on the methods. In no time, most methods were back at this association. I haven’t had students until today and how they affect people not to come to me is a mystery.
We take this very seriously and would like to start selling Mbereko again without being thwarted
This is part 1 that I can now say. Part 2 is about other professionals such as maternity nurses, lactation experts, midwives. #stopracism #Blacklivesmatter #racism #stopbullying
There is nothing more beautiful than being in a conversation with a sister who is just or above your level of thinking. Those women
👉🏿 build each other
👉🏿 laugh and love
👉🏿 correct you and stand corrected.
👉🏿 They have crying moments too. They know how to lift each up and work together.
👉🏿These are girls you laugh with and feel yourself again
and more and more.
We love this type of sisterhood. It reminds me of these ancient women who helped each other guide their men, Kings to be more stronger and fight the challenges during their journey of protecting communities.
The sisterhood we want in the future in where we use this as a whole village that raise the future generations
Written. Melissa B.V.N.