"Mothers raise daughters, sons, the village," is my memoir that I contributed to the anti-poverty group ONE's new project, Six Words on Why Moms Matter, launched by Women ONE2ONE and Smith Magazine to give people a platform to honor their mom in different way for Mother's Day, but also aims to raise awareness of the importance of mothers and the struggles many are facing every day, including those living in extreme poverty around the world.
In America, we celebrate mothers for not only bringing us into the world but for those random acts of motherly love - whether it's a note in your school lunch box, a favorite meal, or a phone call just when you need to hear her voice.
Around the world though, many mothers don't have food for their children or access to a trained health worker which contributes to the estimated 350,000 women who die every year from complications during childbirth. A mother's presence is especially critical in the first months of her child's life; children who lose their mothers are five times more likely to die in infancy than those who do not.
It doesn't have to be this way.
In Africa, women are the backbone of their communities, growing 80% of the food, using microfinance to start small businesses, and getting their children vaccinated against deadly diseases They are the lynchpin to ending hunger, preventing disease, and changing the status quo - but they need our support and our voices to encourage world leaders to make women a part of the solution. As the prolific Chinese proverb says "Women lift up half the sky." Let's honor our mothers on Mother's Day by helping women in the developing world lift up the other half.
My six words came from my time spent in Africa through UNICEF and my own organization, The Angelrock Project. There I have seen the critical role of women who bear children and raise families under conditions of extreme poverty that are unimaginable to most of us. Like our own moms, these women are -- and with our support will continue to be - the catalysts for better lives for their children and increased prosperity in their communities. And I truly believe that when you uplift a woman, you also uplift her family, her community, and indeed the world.
Launched in March, Women ONE2ONE is a new campaign from ONE about the power of women to connect, go beyond and take action to help empower women and families in the poorest parts of the world. With Mother's Day approaching, I encourage you, in addition to flowers and a card, to write your own memoir and share it with your family and friends as we recognize women around the world for all that they do - and all that they can do with a little bit of help. It really does take a village. Join us.
Check out Six Words on Why Moms Matter at http://www.one.org/women/sixwords/.