LCGB’s Equality & Diversity team are always keen to hear from members about good practice in their settings to increase or recognise diversity, or stories celebrating success among those from minority groups.
It was wonderful to see the standing ovation that the delegates at this year’s Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative conference gave to breastfeeding peer supporter ZamZam Elmi, after her articulate and emotional description of how she became a breastfeeding peer supporter, and the struggles she faced through lack of support with her first baby, and her ensuing depression. Zamzam’s story is all too familiar, and one that Mammas, a Leicester-based breastfeeding peer support programme in a very diverse community, hear all too often among the mothers we meet.
Our Equality & Diversity team though was very heartened to celebrate the success of Rahat Ahmed, Peer Supporter with Mammas since 2014, who was successful in applying for an iLactation Diversity Scholarship. Rahat, who is a single mum and has Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia, uses a wheelchair and finds it difficult to attend conferences and training because of this. She breastfed her daughter, now four, for two years, and now supports mothers antenatally and postnatally through telephone calls and attending the city antenatal programme, supporting newly trained peer supporters to get involved. Rahat was the only UK applicant to be awarded a scholarship, and one of only nine awarded globally.
Rahat says: “I felt excited and proud, and a little nervous all at the same time when I heard. The conference was amazing, there was something new and interesting to learn in every one of the presentations. It has increased my confidence and knowledge when I am helping new and expectant mums achieve their breastfeeding goals.”
Awards like this one and others, along with LCGB’s own conference scholarships for aspiring IBCLCs, can open up access to the profession for those who would be less likely to pursue access to the credential. Our monthly Education Bulletin is the place to watch for new opportunities as they appear.