Huffpost Impact
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Haroon Mokhtarzada Headshot

Strength, Resilience and Selflessness: A Mother's Love is Universal

Posted: Updated:
HAROON MOKHTARZADA
Haroon Mokhtarzada

This post is part of the Global Moms Relay. Every time you share this post, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) to help improve the health and well-being of moms and kids worldwide through MAMA, Shot@Life, and Girl Up. Scroll to the bottom to find out more.

Three years after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, my parents decided we needed to leave the country. It would look suspicious for our entire family to leave together, so my mother, pregnant, and with three young children in tow, had to get us out by herself. After that complete reset on life, we settled in the Washington, D.C. area where my mother worked tirelessly to ensure we were well-educated and equipped to take advantage of life's opportunities.

2014-03-09-HomimindingHaroon1.jpg

As I think about my childhood, the single theme that comes back over and over again is how my mother sacrificed whatever she could to carve out the best possible life for her children. From advocating for us within the school system, to working an extra job to pay for my piano lessons, my mother was devoted to helping her children succeed. Her life was not about her, it was about us.

I met Annet Samaya during a recent United Nations Foundation learning trip to Uganda. Annet lives on Bussi Island in the Lake Victoria Basin, one of the most vulnerable regions in Uganda. Like other families on Bussi, Annet's family relies on the land and had been living in very difficult conditions. With assistance and training from the Hope Project, Annet had learned sustainable agricultural practices and developed her land to such a point that it now yields more than enough to support her family. When I asked how she spends her surplus she replied that she sends her two oldest children to a good boarding school so that they may have more opportunities in the future.

2014-03-07-Day48.JPG

Pictured above: Annet Samaya, a farmer, community leader and mother in Uganda.

Given the chance, Annet chose to invest in her children and pay it forward to the next generation. This maternal instinct appears to be universal. Across the globe we find mothers who spend what they have to invest in their children's futures. It's for this reason that the United Nations is so focused on empowering women and girls, not as a class of vulnerable people who need help, but because they form the core of many sustainable solutions to world's most pressing issues.

Meeting Annet was a humble reminder of my own mother's sacrifices for me and my siblings. Strength, resilience and selflessness. These are the traits that I have come to associate with mothers who spend their lives giving of themselves for the next generation. So today I'm privileged to celebrate the more than 2 billion mothers around the world, and I'm proud to honor the mothers in my life -- from my selfless wife who is an amazing mother to our three beautiful little girls, to my own mother without whom I would be nothing of what I am today.

2014-03-09-IMG_8360.JPG

You share, they give: each time you 'like' or share this post via the social media icons on this post or comment below, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) to help improve the health and wellbeing of moms and kids worldwide through MAMA. The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) empowers new and expectant mothers living in poverty with life-saving health information via mobile phones. Every $1 provides a women in Bangladesh a month of mobile messages to support her through pregnancy. You can also Donate A Photo* and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 when you upload a photo for Girl Up or Shot@Life--you can help raise up to $250,000 in seconds with the click of your mouse or snap of your smart phone. Share this post with the hashtag #GlobalMoms, and visit GlobalMomsRelay.org to learn more.

The United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter and The Huffington Post created the Global Moms Relay with a goal of improving the lives of women and children around the globe.

* via the Donate A Photo app for iOS and Android. Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and you can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal, or the donation period ends. If the goal isn't reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation.