Joyful Hands settling babies

September 26, 2021 BY

Special skill: Joy Sawiche provides traditional Kenyan post-natal and infant massage training for parents and carers. Photo: SUPPLIED

MIGRATING from Kenya, Joy Sawiche arrived in Australia an experienced midwife, with a background in paediatric intensive care nursing.

“Working as a midwife, I would help mums settle their babies. One of them said, ‘you’re like a baby whisperer. It would be nice if you could teach that knowledge to us’,” she said.

“The only way I could teach it, is by teaching infant massage. In other countries, as soon as they’re born they’re massaged and pampered, but we don’t do it here, so babies are tired…not settled, maybe colicky.

“Infant massage is a way to settle them.”

Ms Sawiche decided she would start her own business, now known as Joyful Hands, providing traditional Kenyan post-natal and infant massage consultations and training for parents and carers.

She joined the Stepping Stones to Small Business Program run out of Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council to build up, market, and operate her small enterprise.

“My passion was to help mums, families and babies. I was really encouraged by parents, and I was interested in getting my business up and running the right way.

“Stepping Stones taught me things I didn’t know, and gave me the tools and resources I needed. If you have an idea, it can help you bring it to life,” she said.

“It has taught me bookkeeping, advertising, the tools I need to set up business, and taxation. You don’t need to know English to do Stepping Stones; they taught us simply and it was easy to understand.”

Joyful Hands has now been running for one-and-a-half years, and Ms Sawiche hopes more parents and caregivers will embrace infant massage.

“It teaches a child how to give permission before they are touched, and we teach parents and caregivers to ask permission before they can touch the baby,” she said.

“A child learning to give permission is very important. I’d like parents to know that through infant massage they can teach their children, while having that intimate time with them.

“It’s a language of love. If a mother and child, dad and child, or caregiver and child can bond that way, it’s the best thing that can happen, but it has to be consented.”

In the pandemic era, Ms Sawiche – also the chair of BRMC – has a goal to strengthen her delivery of remote consultations and training via video call.

This September BRMC is marking Women’s Business Month.

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