Who We Are
M.A.N.A. Pasefika is a doula program created by and for Pacific Islanders of Melanesian, Micronesian, and Polynesian (See MAP) descent working as community birth attendants in San Francisco whose purpose is to Maintain Ancestral Knowledge and Autonomy in our communities.
MANA Pasefika Doula Coordinator
My name is Ruta Lauleva Lua’iufi Aiono. My family comes from Fasito’o-uta and Malie on my father’s side and from San Francisco, CA on my mother’s side. I grew up in Japan, Samoa, the Bay Area and Rochester, NY. I have been supporting birthing families since 2013 with the birth of my god-child and spent 3 of those years working as an apprentice midwife with Diane Gregg in Southern Arizona serving families from Sonora, Mexico. Learning under Diane I experienced what uninterrupted, unmedicated birth looks like and I bring this sense trust in the birthing body to my clients. Since returning to the Bay Area I have worked with Roots of Labor out of Oakland serving low-income and POC families and I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity to now serve my PI community. I have also been blessed to study under Mimi Kamp, an elder herbalist who held space for me to learn to be quiet and observe as the primary way to understand imbalance, and to sit with the plants as the primary way to understand their medicine. I am excited to support families in birthing with dignity and joy by equipping them with the tools and language to navigate the hospital system while grounding them in the traditions of our ancestors.
I believe that pregnancy and birth are periods of transformation that imprint the infant and can shape the pregnant person and their family for their whole lives. I also believe that Hospital Culture is its own culture, inherently based in colonization, white supremacy and capitalism and that This is why we see more negative birth outcomes for our people. My work as a birth companion centers around supporting BIPOC families to have autonomy within the medical system- the confidence to make informed decisions about their bodies and experiences, the support to impart these rites of passage with cultural values and protocol if they so desire. As a Samoan person I was raised to serve my elders and my community: ‘O le ala i le pule o le tautua’ – The path to leadership is through service. I hope to both honor my family and uplift my culture.
Story of transition
Statement from M.A.N.A. Pasefika : We thank SisterWeb for watering the seed of M.A.N.A. for the last 3 years and all of the community organizations and providers who worked closely with us to transform the landscape of perinatal care for Pacific Islander families in San Francisco
As we transition into being an independent organization, we come back to our core mission which is to “Maintain Ancestral kNowledge and Autonomy” and we look forward to our new horizon with joy knowing that we have community support in our continued endeavor to provide service BY US & FOR US.
For the time being M.A.N.A. will focus on supporting our mamas and families in our Prenatal & Postpartum Groups and by training our family & community members to become Birth Navigators themselves. Please keep in touch with us via IG or our email: email@example.com.
Fatima joined M.A.N.A. Pasefika in 2021 and breathed new life into the program with her enthusiasm for supporting our Pasefika families and her commitment to creating relatable content that uplifts our cultures. She will continue to be an integral part M.A.N.A. outside of SisterWeb as we navigate these new waters.
Fa’afetai Tele Lava & Vinaka Vakalevu from M.A.N.A. Pasefika <3
Resources and contact info
The Prenatal Support Group happens every 2nd Thursday of the month from 6-7:30 pm, California time.
The Post-Partum Support Circle happens every 4th Thursday of the month from 6-7:30 pm, California time.