Baby Shower for Refugee Women: Des Moines, IA
"Girl students should develop self-confidence and must become self-reliant. Women are not weaklings; they are mighty. In fact, women’s qualities of adventure, sacrifice, power, benevolence, love and patience are unique. The woman is the light of the house.” ~ Sathya Sai Baba.
In 2018, the women of the Des Moines Sai Center, Iowa, formed a Mahila (Women’s) Wing to emphasize women’s role in the community and nation-building. Based on the philosophy that self-transformation in women will lead to transformation of the family, and subsequently, of society, the Women’s Wing engages regularly in the study of Sai literature and invites guest speakers for devotional meetings. In addition, they collaborate with the Visiting Nurse Services (VNS) to hold prenatal classes for pregnant refugee women through the Stork Nest Program. Many pregnant refugee women are alone in the U.S with their husbands, and no other familial support.
As a way to celebrate them, nine members of the Women’s Wing organized a baby-shower for three Stork Nest Program participants who were expectant mothers. The baby shower was held at the Visiting Nurse Services Building on May 24 2019. The Sai ladies collected and packaged baby gift items, arranged snacks, and spent time with the expectant women and their husbands.
In an expression of deep gratitude, two participants penned notes in Burmese, which have been translated below:
“My name is Phua Ngun. My baby will be born in August. I am very surprised your group did this for me. In my country, nobody has ever organized a baby shower and I’ve never even heard of a baby shower. This gesture has made me so happy. I called my family in Burma to let them know! They are so happy for me! I want to thank the whole team for this! May God bless you all!”
Another of the participant, Aye Aye Khine, wrote: “I want to thank you all for the prenatal class and the baby shower. I didn’t expect to get these gifts. Thank you so much! I can feel how loving you all are. I cannot express how much gratitude I have for you. May God bless you, and I hope each of you have a long and happy life!”
In witnessing their joy and gratitude, the Sai women felt gratified they could empower and support the refugee women as they embark on this new phase in their life.