Pregnancy

Mothers of the World Unite – Against Poverty And Disease

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Here’s an affecting PSA for One.org — Yes, that’s Bono‘s charity — from former First Lady Laura Bush on the role that mothers play in fixing the problems associated with poverty and disease around the world:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzWqPg7yEts?fs=1]

Obviously, this is timed to tug a few heart strings and coincide with Mothers Day. However, the idea that mothers are the key to fixing the world’s problems isn’t hype. My husband, who’s a journalist, spent a few months touring the worst slums in the Philippines with USAID economists studying micro-finance programs. At the time, he was quite surprised that micro-lending is almost exclusively focused on women and mothers in particular. Men and fathers who subsist at that level of poverty are just generally considered unreliable and prone to vice, so they’re not trusted by aid organizations.

On the other hand, he met a number of mothers who built seriously impressive businesses in just about the worst living conditions imaginable. While these endeavors were usually underwritten with seed money from Western NGOs, maternal concern about feeding their children was a seemingly endless source of ingenuity and motivation. And when it comes to entrepreneurial efforts, that’s a far more valuable commodity than a $50 loan from USAID once a month. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say much of the hopes for improving third world economies hinges on figuring out how to leverage maternal instincts for the benefit of all.

When we think about motherhood and Mothers Day, I think we all have a tendency to narrowly focus in on the examples in our own family. But the reality is that moms are the backbone of our society — everything from public health to economic security hinges on them. So this Mothers Day, after you’re done thanking you’re own Mom, you might pause for a moment to think about what it means to appreciate and support all mothers everywhere.