It’s nearly Mother’s Day. So, what do mothers really want on their special day?
It would be the rare mom — or grandmother, or aunt, or godmother, or wife — who wouldn’t say, “I just want to enjoy time with my children.” Cherishing time with family is more important than gifts. They already have enough “stuff.”
Here’s a simple way to make this Mother’s Day truly special: Give her the satisfaction of knowing she’s sending a deserving Sierra Leone girl to school. A gift to the Sherbro Foundation Girls Scholarship Fund will have happy ripple effects for a struggling West African family for a long time to come.
Can an American mother empathize with a Sierra Leone mother? If they could meet and chat, I think they would find much in common. They want the same things for their children — good food, shelter, a safe and healthy childhood. And importantly: an education and the opportunity to do as well or better than they did.
I asked mothers in Sierra Leone what they want. Here’s what they told me:
Thirty-year-old Mary Bendu was born in the same small village of 200 people as her mother and grandmother. They had to abandon their farm and home during the civil war, and hide from rebels for a year. They lived in the bush, sleeping on the ground and surviving on wild bananas and coco yams and catching mud skippers.
She now lives by the work women usually do – selling things in the market. She collects firewood, smokes fish caught in the river and grows sweet potatoes. She would make more money if she could take these to a bigger market, but she can’t afford to pay for public transportation.
Mary has five children, from five to 15 years old. What makes her most proud is sending them to school. She wants her children to have the education she never had. These are the kind of girls for whom Sherbro Foundation scholarships make secondary school possible.
Zainab Caulker, 28, has 7- and 9-year-old children in school. She herself went through primary school but the war interrupted her education. She’s opened a small business buying farm goods in small villages and reselling them in the Rotifunk market. She used micro-finance loans of $60 – $100 to start her business. She was able to repay them, but with the high interest rates, she could see she was never getting ahead.
She wanted to learn more and help her children with their studies, so she decided to start Adult Literacy classes Sherbro Foundation sponsors in Rotifunk. “I knew nothing before Principal Kaimbay encouraged me to come back to school. Now, I can get up in public and represent myself.” She’s also helping board some teenage girls from nearby villages who attend secondary school with Sherbro Foundation scholarships. Her dream is to become a nurse.
Zainab Sammoh lives in Rotifunk with her two children, 10 and 6. Her husband wanted to go away to college, so she stayed home with the children. He then left her and married an educated woman. Zainab started Adult Literacy classes so she can follow her children’s progress in school and make sure they’re doing what they should.
“I want to be able to ask them, ‘what did you learn in school today,’ and know what it means.” The day I met her she was learning to write her name. She hopes to get a job as a secretary.
Despite their overwhelming struggles, these mothers prize education as the key to a better life for their families.
You can help them create better tomorrows. And make Mother’s Day special for the special woman in your life.
A $30 donation to the Sherbro Foundation Girls Scholarship Fund will send a girl to school – making a powerful difference in the lives of girls and women in Sierra Leone for years to come.
Click here to make a gift in the name of your special woman. Include her email address, and we’ll let her know she’s helping another mother give her daughter a good start in life. Or if you’d rather personally deliver it, we’ll send you an acknowledgement of your thoughtful gift in her name.
We’ll make it more special. We’re matching all donations until May 15, doubling the impact of your gift.
You’ll make a difference in your family, too. Show Mom she taught you well in helping make the world a better place.