Even with more than 8,000 miles, an ocean and harsh daily realities dividing them, Felisa and Nyanwour have more in common than you would realize.
Felisa Hilbert is a mother in Oklahoma who is determined to stop child deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and rotavirus. Driven by her experience as a nurse in rural communities in Mexico where she saw the agony of mothers who lost children to these diseases, she hosts fundraisers, writes her elected officials, and raises her voice on social media.
Nyanwour Deng is a mother of four and a new arrival at the United Nations-led Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. After violence erupted in South Sudan, Nyanwour grabbed her children, left their home in Juba, and walked three days to the safety of the Kakuma camp.
These two women, whose everyday lives may look very different at first glance, share a fierce commitment to the health and wellbeing of children. As they share their stories with us, their dedication to children everywhere is clear. Felisa and Nyanwour are just two examples of mothers around the world who share this same devotion.
In our jobs, we work every day to tackle some of the world's biggest challenges, like the millions of deaths every year of children under 5 and the loss of nearly 800 women a day from complications from pregnancy and childbirth. These are stark issues, and over the years, it became very clear to us: If we want to make progress, we need to tap into the power of moms.
We've seen what moms can do, both in the U.S. and around the world, to change the conversation and change the world. They're helping lead the charge on expanding access to vaccines, empowering adolescent girls, and using mobile phones to improve the health of pregnant and new moms and their babies. Moms are also raising the next generation of leaders, teaching them about global issues and involving them in global solutions.
We've seen the change that can happen when one mom takes action. We've seen the impact on our children when they catch the vision of what one person can do. Imagine the possibilities when moms come together, and families collectively build toward a better, healthier world.
Both of us, in our roles at home as a mom and a husband of a mom, know how mothers support one another and their communities - sharing advice, lending a helping hand, and stepping up time and time again to make sure our children are safe and healthy. Thanks to technology and social media, it's easier than ever for moms to connect with each other and create a global community of support. This is a "can't miss" opportunity for our generation.
That's why the United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Baby Center, and The Huffington Post created the Global Moms Relay. Starting March 7, the day before International Women's Day and through Mother's Day, celebrities, mothers, and other community leaders will share online stories of motherhood to inspire action to help improve the lives of mothers and children everywhere.
We hope you will mark your calendars and join us - because every action you take to share a Global Moms Relay post with your social networks, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 to one of three global initiatives, which support the UN Secretary-General's Every Woman Every Child movement:
- The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), which uses mobile phones to deliver vital health messages to new and expectant mothers;
- Shot@Life, a campaign to protect children worldwide by expanding access to life-saving vaccines; and
- Girl Up, which raises awareness and funds for UN programs that help some of the world's hardest-to-reach adolescent girls.
The Global Moms Relay is a key part of the Global Moms Challenge, a movement focused on health and happiness for moms and babies everywhere. Join us at globalmomschallenge.org, and stay tuned for more details.
Whether you are a mom or have been impacted by a mom, we hope you will join us in building a world where every child has a chance to thrive. Together, moms around the world can create an unstoppable force for change.
Follow us on Twitter: @globalmomschall