|Mothers support mothers|
Mothers for All not only provides direct support to the caregivers of orphans in southern Africa, it helps these women build support networks and important life skills, and encourages other mothers around the world to get involved. Sensitive, responsive mothering is vital for a child's all-round development and success in later life - all children need this chance.
Mothers training mothers
Our mothers are not only learning new handicraft skills they are also learning how to pass these skills onto trainee mothers. Our experienced mothers regularly travel to other villages and towns to teach the beading skills. For many, this is the first time they have been to different parts of their own country. When our Selebi-Phikwe mothers visited Maun at the base of the Okavango Delta there was much excitement as they saw giraffes for the first time in their lives. The highlight is always, however, meeting other women in similar situations and realising that they are not alone in bearing the brunt of the devastating social consequences of the HIV epidemic.
Below: some of the Selebi-Phikwe mothers training new mothers from Bobonong
Mothers supporting mothers
This brings us to the wonderful networks and friendships that result whenever you bring people together who are in similar situations and then provide them with the means to turn their lives around. Now our mothers no longer sit in their homes wondering how they are going to cope, they are in and out of each other's homes, laughing, joking and complimenting one another as they compare beads and jewellery items. And even better, they are providing advice and solutions for individual problems, such as how to access government support for the extra children as well as helping the less able older members in their groups.
Our mothers have also decided, unanimously, that they want to put 10% of their monthly earnings above 1,000 pula (approximately £100) to a mothers' training fund. If a mother then wishes to return to school or get further training in, for example, book keeping and manages to save half the cost, this fund will be used to pay the difference. Mothers for All has received several donations which we have used to put into this fund as well as the orphan training fund for school leavers. Mothers for All is becoming a movement for social change and self empowerment, thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of our members.
Read about our first mother, Polite Dwanie Tukishi, who has now returned to school at the age of 30 after having to leave at the age of 16 when both her parents died within a week of each other. She is both an orphan and a mother and a worthy recipient of the first award. She has nearly saved her 50% through the sale of her paper bead jewellery. She has also inspired all our other mothers to think about going back to school or enrolling in a training course.
Many thanks to the following people who have contributed to these two funds and therefore helped to launch the projects: Caroline Denee and Linda Lockie from New Zealand, Sarah Bretherton from Australia, Trude Arnesen from Norway, Fiona Clark from Canada, Michale Rehlander from the United States and Anika van Heerden from the United Arab Emirates.
Below: members of the Delft group outside Cape Town who have all become good friends since joining Mothers for All
Mothers without borders
Women all over the world, from Australia to the UK and USA, are supporting us by ordering our mothers' products or promoting the work of the organisation. There's Chrissie Sherwood of Injabulo in the UK and Peggy Busby of Texas who put in order after order, and Fran Gregson in Perth who was recently top vendor (out of nearly 40 exhibitors) at a market with her Mothers for All stall. And then there is Jennifer Anderson, the British High Commisioner in Botswana, who is a keen supporter of the project and profiled the work of our organisation in her World AIDS Day blog on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Thank you to each and every person who buys our mothers' products, or supports the organisation in other ways, for helping to change their lives and those of the children in their care.
Below: Fran Gregson with her Mothers for All stall, Chrissie Sherwood wearing the Travelling Bead necklace, and Jenny Dunlop, Botswana's national co-ordinator, with Jennifer Anderson, both wearing paper bead necklaces