No matter where they come from, mothers have one thing in common: protecting and caring for their children is a priority. At UNICEF, we see this every day as we work on the ground with children and their families. To inspire you for Mother’s Day, we bring you the story of some mothers who are doing all they can, and more, to keep their children safe, healthy and happy. The lives of these strong women will touch and inspire you. Read the inspiring story of mothers.
THE STORY OF LIVEY, THE HIV-POSITIVE TEENAGER WHO BECAME MAYOR
In Namibia, Livey Van Wyk was 17 when she learned she was pregnant and HIV positive. She showed great courage and became one of the first young girls to speak openly about her HIV status: she faced prejudice and rejection. She enrolled in a UNICEF-supported program that aims to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby boy, Rémi. After the birth of Rémi, the young mother regained control of her future and she became, at the age of 26, the youngest mayor of her country. Remi is 13 years old today and he is my strength and my courage,” Livey says proudly With HIV test kits , UNICEF is helping prevent mother-to-child transmission of this deadly virus.
COURAGEOUS NEVEEN PROTECTS HER FAMILY AMIDST CONFLICT
Neveen Barakat comforts his six-year-old daughter, Rosol. Neveen’s husband died in an explosion at a UN school in Gaza. The attack also injured her and three of her children, including Rosol. Rosol saw horrible things: victims who lost a hand or a leg, others who were injured in the face and eyes. She saw her father die. It’s a great trauma and she suffers from great psychological distress, ”explains Neveen sadly.Neveen shows great courage. She brings her children regularly to a center supported by UNICEF where they receive psychosocial assistance.
THE STORY OF ANGELINA RAISING HER SISTER-IN-LAW’S CHILD ON HER OWN
In South Sudan, Angelina Nyanin hugs her malnourished niece as a UNICEF worker gives her Plumpy’nut , a peanut-based therapeutic food that helps malnourished children heal . Angelina has five children of her own. Last August, her village was attacked by armed men. Her husband and sister-in-law were killed in the attack . This is why Angelina is now alone to take care of the six children, as famine ravages the country. “I’m especially afraid of hunger and violence. With the fights around us, it is difficult to find food. We are forced to feed ourselves with water lilies that we collect from the ponds. Children lose weight quickly. “
THE STORY OF AN EXCEPTIONAL GRANDMOTHER
Conzuelo Flores plays with his four-year-old granddaughter, Allizon Stefany Escobar, at their home in Belize. Because Allizon’s mother works long hours, Conzuelo spends a lot of time each day playing and raising his granddaughter. The three girls live with an aunt and a cousin in a small cinder block house with little furniture. I couldn’t live if something happened to Allizon,” says Conzuelo. Love and play are the two essential foundations of a child’s development, learning and well-being.
THE MOTHER WHO GAVE BIRTH TO TWINS DURING A CYCLONE
It’s hard enough to give birth to twins, imagine having to do it right in the middle of a category five cyclone. It takes determination and courage. Avalon began to have contractions as Fiji was hit by one of the worst storms on record in the southern hemisphere. She had to deal with high winds, flying debris and power lines on the ground to get to the hospital where she eventually gave birth to two healthy little girls. After the cyclone, UNICEF gave Avalon and other mothers the advice, supplies and help they needed to keep their newborns safe and healthy despite the ravaged area.
I was due to give birth on March 16, but I kept joking with my family that the twins would arrive during the cyclone. This is ultimately what happened! Says Avalon.
THE MOTHER WHO SAVED HER CHILD FROM BOKO HARAM
Maryamu was ill and was at home when members of the Boko Haram group broke into the church in her village, Nigeria. As soon as she heard the first shots, she took her daughter and fled. Since then, she has never seen her husband again and she fears the worst. She now lives in a camp for internally displaced people in Yola, with her one-year-old daughter, where they have access to medical care , school supplies and clean water thanks to UNICEF. Maryamu would love to return home when safety returns, even though she knows she will never get her life back.There is nothing left in our house, they stole everything. I had a motorcycle and a few cows, but now I have nothing left, ”she explains.
A SINGLE MOTHER WHO DOES EVERYTHING POSSIBLE FOR HER CHILDREN
In Malawi, Alinafe is raising her four children alone: Desire, Innocent, Kelvin and Janet, aged two, six, eight and ten respectively. They live in a hut Alinafe built from dried corn husks. Their old house, made of mud bricks, was destroyed in a storm. Due to the drought, their land, which used to provide them with a small regular harvest, is now completely dry and barren. This drought has made their situation desperate and the youngest, Desire, suffers from severe acute malnutrition. Alinafe goes to the hospital regularly so that she can be weighed, receive health care and therapeutic food.
Do these brave mothers inspire you? On Mother’s Day, you can honor your mother’s dedication and compassion with a gift that helps moms and their children. Give a Gift of Survival.