June 2016: Jamaa Moves into its’ First Brick & Mortar

Jamaa Birth Village means family in the African language of Swahili. Come and go with me, on the humble beginnings and birthing of a village.

first jamaa space in ferguson

Our Thursday Midwife clinic days were becoming increasingly popular. Women would drive across Illinois state lines to be seen for home birth Midwifery care, and we needed to find our own space to call home. 

We searched high and low, many supporters came together to assist in looking for a location, and then finally, while driving to the post office, my attention drifted down Church St., a street that I remember going down as a child to the Ferguson Public library. I turned to grasp a bit of nostalgia, and then, I saw the for rent sign, right outside of 8 Church St.

My heart jumped, and immediately I contacted the owner. After a bit of hesitation to rent to us due to our brand new beginnings as a non-profit, I convinced the owner to take a chance on us, and that he would not regret it. 

We were able to raise enough funds as a start-up between January 2016 & June 2016 to purchase some new furniture to decorate our new location. Many people donated labor and hours of love in helping us to make our new location just as comfortable as our space in my home. 

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Okunsola M. Amadou

Okunsola M. Amadou, a Fulani-American Midwife, is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Jamaa Birth Village. Previously known as "Tru", Okunsola is an initiated Olokun and Egbe Priestess in the Isese religion, where she is currently studying as an Iyalorisha. During Okunsolas rites of passage, she received her traditional face markings, representing her nobility and position of royalty in her lineage.

She founded Jamaa Birth Village in 2015, in her Ferguson, MO living room, starting the St. Louis Black Doula movement and growing the St. Louis Black Doula community from 5 to 200+ in 5-years through her Community Doula Training, the city's first Black written, created and taught community-based doula training. In 2018, Okunsola created the St. Louis Doulas of Color Collective, which now boasts a thriving membership of 40+ Black Doulas and is home to Missouri’s first BIPOC Doula directory.

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