Answering the Call
As a health and religious leader, Sister Yel is an inspiration to many members of the community and part of her advocacy is Milk Matters. She shares that during the early years of Milk Matters, back when it was just a proposal drafted on paper, she welcomed the project with open arms. Likewise, the women at the Canossa Health and Social Center in Silang, Cavite were ready to take part. Health promotion through public health lectures (PHLs) on breastfeeding, proper latch-on, and breastfeeding positions were conducted to educate the mothers and correct misconceptions. Common problems encountered were also tackled in PHLs by asking the moms to share their own personal experiences after which, solutions to those problems were given by fellow moms and by the students.
Together with the PHLs on breastfeeding, Milk Matters also conducts regular milk drives in the community, in partnership with PGH. These drives give mothers the opportunity to donate their breast milk to the babies of the PGH Neontal Intensive Care Unit (PGH NICU).
“The first time Milk Matters came to Cavite, it was quite a success. All the mothers, coming from indigent families, were excited to somehow give a part of themselves and give a contribution to the needs of the babies in the nurseries of PGH.”
Sister Yel describes Milk Matters as a “creative way of answering a need,“ because not only do the mothers gain the knowledge for themselves and their babies, but they are able to share something of themselves to other babies in need. Living in a resettlement area, Sister Yel sees the daily struggles and pains of families in the community. However, despite their situation, the mothers still willingly give what they have.
“They are happy, that even in their own poverty, they are able to share what they naturally have. It added to their sense of self-worth and self-esteem… Its a beautiful thing.”
Milk Matters serves as an avenue for growth for the mothers, the BHWs, and even for the members of the sorority who conduct the lectures. All the women that take part of Milk Matters are able to learn more about themselves and about each other. Sister Yel shares how much she appreciates Milk Matters because of the learnings that are shares, the love that is fostered, and the empowerment it gives.
“...I really saw the joy of the mothers. Sometimes they feel like they can only be in the receiving end of things. It’s not just you found a way to help the babies of PGH, but in a way- is an empowerment of women especially in my set up.”
Sister Yel shares what she taken home from all the years that Milk Matters has been in the community,
“What I have learned in Milk Matters is that poor people can generously assist people in need. It’s easier and more natural for them because there is a certain connection that they feel— they understand the need and are only too eager to give up themselves.”
Milk Matters creates a safe and nurturing environment for mothers to be themselves and embrace motherhood through breastfeeding. Milk Matters has grown and will continue to grow with the help of women like Sister Yel Adre, with the Barangay Health Workers, the sisters of Canossa Health and Social Center, and with the mothers who continuously heed to the call to become of service to others.
For more information about Milk Matters, please visit facebook.com/PLDMilkMatters
In line with our objective to empower Filipino mothers to breastfeed, Milk Matters presents Express Yourself, an online movement that sheds light on the breastfeeding experiences of Filipino mothers, families, doctors, nurses, and other members of society. Our vision is to inspire other mothers to continue breastfeeding through these stories.