Just last week, I found myself in Paris, France. I was about to meet my niece, who was studying abroad, but I gave myself an extra first day on my own. I made plans with our contributor in Paris, Marie Kléber, whom I didn’t know very well, but whom I was so excited to meet!
She met me at my hotel, and we headed out by metro to the area of Saint Martin. She helped me navigate purchasing my travel card, and led me to a trendy, “oh so good!”, vegan place for lunch. We sat on high stools looking out toward the street. We talked and talked and talked! (Mostly in English, but later switched to French!) I wanted to know all about her life. What her life was like in Paris as a mom. About the French elections happening the next day. She was curious about how World Moms Network got started, and if I had met any of the other World Moms and who! (Lucky to say, yes, I have!)
It felt surreal. I traveled all this way, and all of a sudden I have a good friend here whom I had never met before. But, it’s not a unique feeling. It’s the same feeling when Purnima from India met Ecoziva in Brazil. When Tara from Canada met Nancy in Tanzania. When Martine from the Philippines met Ruth in Singapore. When I met Mama B. from Saudi Arabia in NYC. In our own efforts we are satisfying (or igniting more!) curiosities about the world through meeting women from around the world. Woman who we wouldn’t come across in our towns or cities at home. We found them through this network.
In France I had a feeling of complete comfort in a foreign city that had just been the site of a terrorist attack the night before. After lunch Marie took me to see the statue of Rèpublique, a piece of her French heritage. Then, I assumed I’d just find my way back to my hotel on my own. I had such a fantastic time with her!!
But no, Marie, rode the metro back toward my hotel with me, out of her way. And walked me back to my hotel. She was going to tell me how best to get to a friend’s place for later tonight. It turned out it was only 2 blocks from where she lived. What are the chances of that? So, Marie insisted that she take me to my friend’s doorstep. And I insisted that she come in and meet my friend!
World Moms Network reminds me that the world isn’t so big. That there are amazing people to meet in every culture. We just have to reach out and allow ourselves to be connected. Let go of what is familiar. We may be surprised.
Marie gave me more than just great conversation, a tour around her home city, and sight-seeing tips for me and my niece. I had been feeling burnt out lately. I had spent so many years straight working and squeezing hours as though squeezing the last of the toothpaste to work on World Moms Network since 2010. And this past 100 days, watching how my own country is trying to defund the very life-saving global health programs that I’ve been writing about and passionately advocating for. Calling my Senators and Congressman. Reading. Disappointed. And on top of all that, busier in my children’s lives in my new role this year as Girl Scout Leader. And finally making exercise a priority for my health.
World Moms Network has continued to deliver while I have been juggling other life stages because of the strength of the team of women behind me. Just in case you ever thought that this site was just me, it’s sooo never been just me. Thank you to the World Moms who carry the torch when other World Moms just cannot.
It’s amazing how a conversation with a new friend thousands of miles away can take you back to what you stand for. For what you fight for. For peace. For friendship. For understanding. For cultural appreciation. For respect. For maturity. To help you find your footing. Guide you back to writing. To restore you energy.
It’s been awhile since I wrote. Thank you, Marie. I’m back.
This is an original post to World Moms Network by founder, Jennifer Burden, of New Jersey, USA.
Photo credits to the author.
My grandmother, Amelia, has been gone 3 years now. It is weird that she is not here, yet, I can still here her voice in my head. I remember how she would say an old fashioned, “How do you do?” to me and my toys or call soft serve ice cream “custard” on a hot Brooklyn’s summer’s day. She was always up for a walk after we ate, and one time we got lost, but eventually made our way back home! She always loved to read and talk and go. She got bored very easily. And, of course, there was always candy coated gum, “Chicklets”, in her purse to share. In fact, our 2nd post on World Moms Network, then World Moms Blog, in 2010 was about her life!
My favorite story was about how the family had run out of money during the Great Depression, and then she received a postcard in the mail from the State of New York to apply for free nursing training. It was her ticket out of upstate to come to the great, big city and pull her family out of the breadline. She was the responsible one in the family, ahead of her brothers (as she always told me!). And she knew what she needed to do. Amelia, my grandmother, answered the call, and was on her way to New York City to become a nurse.
Nursing was so important to my grandmother, and so far, no one in the family has carried on her torch in the medical field. So, when World Mom, Kristyn Zalota, had formed the nonprofit, Cleanbirth.org, and was looking for donations to train much needed nurse midwives in Laos, I decided it was the perfect way to pay tribute to my grandmother. It is a great feeling to be able to provide a woman today an opportunity of life changing healthcare training, like my grandmother had once received. It is our family’s way of paying it forward.
Cleanbirth.org was founded in response to Laos having one of the worst maternal death rates on the planet. Attributing to these rates was the lack of adequate or accessible health care in rural areas and absence of sanitary supplies needed to prevent infection during birth.
Today, Cleanbirth.org in cooperation with Yale University, has trained over 300 midwives and provided over 5,000 birth kits. It has been incredible to see Kristyn’s dream to help woman and babies be carried out as the organization grows.
This year Cleanbirth.org is seeking to train in 43 clinics this year! Every dollar helps. Whether you can chip in for or towards a $5 birth kit, or train a midwife for $240, no donation is too small or too large! Just five dollars donated pays for a sanitary birthing kit, which also includes transportation for the midwives to attend a birth.
Here is a message from Cleanbirth.org founder and World Mom, Kristyn Zalota:
World Moms Network community, please join me, as we seek to raise $1000 for the training of nurse midwives and birth kits this year! Whether you’d like to contribute to train a nurse midwife for $240 or chip in toward a $5 birth kit or anywhere in between, no donation is too small!
Here is the link to World Moms Network’s Cleanbirth.org funding page. Won’t you join us to help save the lives of more moms and babies, as well as, give more woman the opportunity to midwife training? Let’s do this! (And thank you!)
This is an original post to World Moms Network from founder and CEO, Jennifer Burden in New Jersey, USA.
Cleanbirth.org is a 501c3 with no paid staff members. In the USA donations to Cleanbirth.org are tax deductible.
It is with tons of enthusiasm from around the world that we announce that our mini-shop is live and taking orders!
The World Moms have been talking about this for years, and we finally launched our mini-shop! The first products are sourced from women’s cooperatives in India and Cambodia that provide jobs for sex trade survivors.
From covering the stories that affect women and children around the world for over 6 years, we’ve come to know how our decisions can impact change. Sourcing our first socially responsible products with our friends at To The Market danced beautifully with our mission statement: “Connecting mothers; empowering women around the globe.”
We hooked up with Jane Knowles from To the Market at the ONE Campaign’s AYA Summit a few years back!
Proceeds from our first products will go towards our expenses to run the site and fund our World Moms Network Ambassador Training Program, which our contributors will be participating in online in 2017!
FEATURED PRODUCT: #HOPEBAG
With no further hesitation, I must introduce you to the Hope Bag! The story behind it goes like this: I called on my English friend from university, Hannah Ashton, who always had her nose in a fashion magazine and dragged me to shop after shop! I told her that we needed to source responsibly, but I needed help with the fashion part. She dove in and said that we must feature the bag with the gorgeous, repurposed sari handles. So, here we are months later!
World Mom, Hannah, chose a grey jute, which is confident enough to turn all eyes to the main show stopper of this bag: the handles. We were nervous when we sent the first payment for the shipment, but many of us screamed with enthusiasm when the shipment arrived!! They are exactly how we imagined, if not better! We hope you love them, too.
Multicolored with a punch of varying shades of pink and purple, the braided handles on the Hope Bag are a show stopper! The handles are made from washed, repurposed saris. Some handles are lighter, others darker, some brighter, and others more muted. Different colors. All gorgeous.
Example of the sari handles — each bag is unique!
Inside, the bag is lined with a charcoal cotton lining and has a zippered inner pocket.
Lined in charcoal cotton with a zippered inside pocket!
The handles were so much fun to photograph!
And here is one on the rack…
The Hope Bag in grey sells for $35 plus tax and shipping. Merchandise ships from the USA. Click on over to our mini-shop to purchase this bag or see what other finds we are featuring — a mini, yet thoughtful, selection of bags and bracelets…it’s a start!
This is an original post to World Moms Network from founder and CEO, Jennifer Burden in the USA.
Photo credits to Jennifer Burden.
Save the Children lit up the Empire State Building red on October 11th, 2016 for International Day of the Girl, attracting attention to the rights of girls worldwide. Seen here is actress, Dakota Fanning, Save’s CEO and President, Carolyn Miles and from L-R super girls Colette, Miracle, Katie and Antonella. Photo credit: Save the Children
Look UP, New Yorkers!!! For the first time EVER the Empire State Building is RED today for International Day of the Girl!! This morning, World Moms Network was invited to cover Save the Children’s lighting of the Empire State Building in New York City. The ceremony included Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children, actress Dakota Fanning, and 4 strong girls — Colette, Antonella, Kate and Miracle — who may appear small, but have incredibly large hearts. The girls used their voices today to make a statement for the rights of girls everywhere.
Kate is an American girl of 10 years old from Connecticut who sponsors two girls through Save the Children, one in Ethiopia and one in Uganda. She says that she sends a lot of letters to her girl counterparts overseas!
“Life is very different for the girls. They can’t just go to a supermarket like we do. They have to grow their own food.”, says Kate.
Kate explained that the girls have to walk to school, and their school is not very close. She says, “I can just take the bus and get to school in 15 minutes. They can’t.” Her sponsored children also don’t have as much time for after school activities like sports because they have to help out at home.
Kate dreams of going to Ethiopia and Uganda to meet her friends. Her sponsorship started as a holiday gift, and she enjoyed the global friendship so much that she asked to sponsor another girl.
Why the importance of focusing on girls? Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children states,
“Girls are twice as likely to never start school than boys. And there are more girls out of school than boys.”
So not fair, right????
Some of the global issues that keep girls from getting the chance to hit the books are child marriage, societal pressures to help out at home while their brothers go to school, menstruation, and more.
Raising awareness to the issue was actress and artist, Dakota Fanning, who attracted the paparazzi to a cause that she is very passionate about. Dakota is a Save the Children Ambassador, and she spoke to the press about the importance of getting more girls in school worldwide. She totally shines. Please do follow and use the hashtag #SheShines to tell us who inspires you on this International Day of the Girl. Thank you, Dakota, for using your large platform for girls!
Save the Children Ambassador, Dakota Fanning, at the top of the Empire State Building for International Day of the Girl on October 11th, 2016. #SheShines Photo credit: Save the Children
Miracle joined the kid sponsors on the platform, but her story is not one of sponsorship, but of being sponsored in rural South Carolina. She was proud to join Save the Children to speak up for girls like her and seemed to hit it off instantly with her new girlfriends!
From L-R: Save the Children girl power: Kate, Miracle, Colette and Antonella. Photo credit: Save the Children.
World Moms Network is proud of these girls for raising their voices for girls everywhere! If you’d like to sponsor a child, please go to Save the Children.
Here’s a sneak peak at the red Empire State Building! (Better photo to come!)
The Empire State Building was lit red on October 11th, 2016 for International Day of the Girl by Save the Children. Photo credit to Marshall Kanfer.
This is an original post to World Moms Network’s founder and CEO, Jennifer Burden in New Jersey, USA. Jennifer is the proud sponsor of a girl in the USA through Save the Children and voluntarily covered this story.
“For Trayvon” by artist, A’driane Nieves. Acrylic on paper.
In college, I had a black professor for a “Racism in the Americas” class. The students were overwhelmingly white and there was one brown girl, who had to give the opinion of what it was like to be black in America for everyone who is black in America when it came to discussion. The professor came to class every day with a nice suit jacket on, which wasn’t common of all the liberal arts professors in the building during that time. It was a little fancy. He explained that he had to wear it. He explained that it helped him from not being pulled over by the police.
This was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing. I was 19 or 20 when I took the class, yet, I had no idea that racial profiling existed.
The professor said that he had been arrested 6 times just because he fit the description, 6 foot black male. Sometimes on his way to the university to teach his class, “Racism in the Americas”, at an esteemed private university. He said that if he was dressed up, he hoped he was less likely to get stopped. That was in the mid 90s.
Fast forward to the 2010’s and the internet has shed a great big spotlight on racism across America. And it’s HUGE. And racial profiling, IT’S STILL A THING. A really big thing. And black people being MURDERED FOR NO GOOD REASON IS A THING. We can’t turn our heads, America.
So today, I’m asking you to follow two black American women who have been very vocal in the conversation of the social injustice of black people in America. I have learned more and more about my own country from following Kelly Wickham, who founded “Being Black at School” and US veteran and artist, A’driane Nieves, also known as addyeB.
Through the site, Being Black at School, Wickham empowers “parents and educators to make the school system a safe place for black children.” You can also donate to make this happen, too.
And Nieves says, “I live for sharing my thoughts, heart, and stories through my work, be it on a canvas or written word. I also live for seeing and loving those in the margins because that is where I’ve always existed.” Not only can you read her passionate stories of activism, but you can buy her gorgeous art.
Wickham and Nieves’ messages are strong and needed in this country. They are pushing to make a difference to help end racism. They are both a HUGE inspiration to me, and I want to share them with the world.
This is an original post to World Moms Network by founder, Jennifer Burden.
Photo credit to A’Driane Nieves.