This Mother's Day, we're focusing on the moms in the communities where we work. Every day, they show commitment, strength, and courage in working to improve the health in their communities. Read below about the stories that illustrate how much our moms care!
Project Alajuelita, Costa Rica
The Dance Therapy Program at the Rehabilitation Center for women is run through Foundation Genesis. It is a space for women to escape their battle with drugs and alcohol. Every Thursday morning 12 - 17 women gather together and have a chance to focus on becoming aware of their bodies and breathing. Many of them see the rehabilitation program as their last chance to end their relationship with drugs. Their main motivation to spend 7 months as interns at the center is to have the chance to raise their children again, as many have been separated due to their addiction. Some children are put into child protection, while other live with family members.
Dance therapy gives these women a chance to gain a connection with their bodies, and reconstruct their body image. It provides them the opportunity to relive their stories in a positive way. Many of these women have been suffering from abuse from a young age, including violence, sexual abuse, and prostitution. The chance to have positivev experiences with their bodies, unrelated to sex or drugs, is one of the first steps to restore their body image, feel more in control of their present, and start thinking of their future.
Project Anconcito, Ecuador
The mother pictured in the photo is María Zambrano, an Anconcito native from the Luis Cadena neighborhood. She is embracing her daughter, Scarlet, who is 7 years old and the youngest of five children. María's husband and oldest son are fishermen, while her younger four children attend elementary and high school. Her full-time job is caring for her family; María dedicates every waking hour to raising her children, going to the market and preparing meals, helping with homework, and cleaning her home to provide a safe and healthy environment for her family. She is also an active member of the community, and she and her children are dedicated FIMRC volunteers.
Project Bududa, Uganda
Sylvia was the sole caretaker of her son, Emma, who is in FIMRC’s OVC Program, after her husband left her and the family. Sylvia ensures that Emma will grow up to be a happy, healthy, and hard-working adult by helping him with his schoolwork, reminding him to take his medications, and always making sure that his stomach is full. In addition to being a full-time mom, Sylvia also bananas, corn, and other vegetables to sell in the market for an income!
Project Cavite, Philippines
Daniel's mom is amazing. Daniel, now eight years old, was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, and is currently undergoing phase 1 chemotherapy. Upon his diagnosis, Daniels' mom had to quit her job to care for Daniel full-time. Whenever Daniel is admitted to the hospital for treatment she spends days by his bedside, sleeping in a chair, preparing his meals, and sorting out bills and administrative reports with the hospital. She rarely gets a chance to sleep properly or wash, but she never looks stressed or upset. Instead, she's always ready to greet FIMRC staff and volunteers with a smile, and always has time for a quick chat.
Daniel’s mother is one of many parents who are caring for their children in the Cancer Institute, all of whom are struggling with the same issues of caring for a severely ill child. The sense of community and solidarity is extremely moving. When one mother needs to sort out something with the hospital or have a quick rest, the other mothers take turns watching the children. FIMRC volunteers and staff are always so privileged to watch the strength and love these women display in times of extreme turmoil. I imagine how easy it might be to turn to despair – but the Cancer Institute is largely a place of smiles, peace and happiness. Although there are dark circles under her eyes, Daniel's mom is always ready to play his favorite games. She explains, “This is the time that I look forward to the most -playing with my son.”
Project Huancayo, Peru
Mothers in the Aco community at Project Huancayo form a tight knit community that are dedicated to better understanding their health while improving the health of their children. They participate in health education sessions, clinical screenings, and have now started organic gardens to improve their nutrition!
Project Kodaikanal, India
Selvi is wholly committed to her son, Sebastian. Sebastian was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy since infancy, and throughout his entire life Selvi has been dedicated to finding the best care for him. While her husband works away from home, Selvi takes him to the Pasam Health Centre where he receives physiotherapy treatment. This can often take several days, and Selvi stays with Sebastian during these visits. Sebastian has begun to slowly progress with his motor skills and is coping well with the physiotherapy treatment. Selvi is a constant presence and support in his life, and has been instrumental in helping him to rehabilitation.
Project La Merced, Peru
Raquel is the teacher of the kindergarten class at the local school where we run our Planeta y WASH and Emer-Campo programs. Raquel has been instrumental in pushing our programs forward as well as helping us in other communities at both the La Merced and Huancayo program sites, introducing organic gardens (biohuertos) and organic composting techniques.
The kindergarten is a small (but hugely important) part of her life but Raquel does so many other things: She has her own farm – growing granadilla fruit and coffee (which she picks, dries and roasts herself). She has cattle and produces her own cheese, is an avid re-cycler and also manages a reforestation program.
Raquel welcomes elderly people who don't have family, to eat at her house, including a man who only communicates by sign language and a woman who has lived in the community her whole life and now suffers from advanced dementia.
As well as ALL of this! Raquel is a MOTHER! (and grandmother!). She is always smiling, energetic and positive and an incredible example to everyone around her. She lives in a community that is almost two hours from the nearest town and is frequently cut off during the rainy season due to land and mud slides yet she still manages to maintain an amazing zest for life.
Project Limón, Nicaragua
At Project Limón, the work that we do mainly revolves around mothers and their children whether it be through our Pediatric Health Program, Malnutrition Program, Prenatal Program, or now our newly started Micro-health Insurance Program. These mothers have shown their dedication to the health of their children time and time again and as we have built relationships with them, we can truly understand the bond between mother and child. Here in Nicaragua, Mother's Day is not just a day of celebrating our mothers, but an entire month of appreciating the work that mothers do day in and day out for their children and their families. Here there is a saying, "There is nothing more pure than the love of a mother, it is a love that brings happiness into your life and gives you hope of becoming better every day." We truly appreciate all the mothers that allow our programs to work due to their participation and dedication.
Project Restauración, Dominican Republic
Margarita and her six month old baby, Rose, stopped by the FIMRC Office to register for the upcoming program aimed at educating mothers on all they need to know about breastfeeding their young ones. Although we recruited most participants through home visits, it was great to see how word had spread among women to Margarita! Her determination and enthusiasm will be a great addition to the program getting started after Mother's Day!