With Mother's Day around the corner, I am grateful. This time of year, I think of my mother and our special moment we had together. I think of the story she tells about the earthquake that occurred just as she went into labor. It was a small earthquake; small enough that she thought the nurse knocked the bed as she bent over.
The truth is that my mother and I were quite comfortable.
We celebrate Mother's Day every year. We meaning our family, our friends, our community, our social media, our stores, etc. It's a big celebration, and it's also a privilege.
I think of the mothers and grandmothers that we work with in Malawi, Zambia and Brazil. All mothers seeking to create better opportunities for their families.
Then I think of the statistics for these mothers and their children. For Malawi, a country just under the size of Pennsylvania, the infant mortality is 122.28 deaths per 1,000. This ratio is one of the worst in the world. According to the most recent data available by UNICEF, Malawi is ranked 37 for the under-5 mortality category and by comparison the United States is given a ranking of 150.
In Malawi, the chichewa word for pregnancy ("pakati") translates as "between life and death". For a woman in the United States, the lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 1,800, but for a woman in Malawi, the ratio is much worse with the risk at 1 in 34. Many contributing factors include preventable complications, meaning complications that could be prevented with proper medical and surgical care. Other causes include AIDS, disease and chronic malnutrition.
Seeing these statistics, I am reminded that Mother's Day is a privilege - one that comes with access to good healthcare, nutrition and more.
While these statistics can be overwhelming to digest and some of us may even feel at a loss with how to respond, we can respond in a couple of ways now.
1. Let's recognize the privileges we have to celebrate Mother's Day
2. Let's continue to support these countries through the purchase of fair trade goods. While the purchase of goods may not be a direct fund to medical facilities, it is a means to provide sustainable economic support to communities. We have seen success with the artisans that we work with in Malawi. For example, Malawi is consistently ranked as one of the ten poorest countries in the world, with 62% living below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day. Yet, 46% of all Dsenyo's partners in Malawi are making above $1.25 per day while only working part-time on Dsenyo's orders. Income from Dsenyo is helping them provide basic necessities for their families and improve their quality of life. Click here to learn more about Dsenyo's social impact in Malawi.
Dsenyo's collection of fair trade goods from Malawi have been made by mothers and grandmothers. Made with love, this collection celebrates economic opportunities and encouragement for a brighter future - one with resources for education, food for the family and opportunities of beginning their own businesses. Take a look here: http://bit.ly/WCo66Y
This Sunday we'll mourn the 1 in 34 who won't be celebrating Mother's Day, and we'll celebrate for those who are. We'll recognize that in parts of the world, such as Malawi, pregnancy is between life and death.