The Inspiration Behind Mothers of Africa
After attending a 2004 conference in Paris, where a presenter spoke about the devastating maternal mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa, Dr. Judith Hall was moved to start a charity to help. Later that year, Mothers of Africa was born. In the beginning, the nonprofit was focused most on improving women’s health and reducing maternal deaths, but it has since evolved to encompass much more, including a focus on education.
“The most important thing is that it is a listening project; it’s not an imposition project,” said Founder and Trustee Dr. Judith Hall. She emphasized that it was necessary to hear directly from communities and respond to their needs. “It’s all based on the fact that they’re the experts of their own lives,” she explained.
As a result, the group has been successful with training for medical personnel, building schools, providing materials for students, supporting new infrastructure and even creating a solar-powered IT classroom.
A Natural Partnership
A few years ago, Julian Lennon became an ambassador for Mothers of Africa and The White Feather Foundation began working with the charity. Past collaborations include the first-ever Primary School in Shiyala Village and a second phase of the project, which included an additional classroom block, restroom facilities, landscaping and additional offices for teachers.
“Julian is a great ambassador for us because he believes in what we believe. The concept of the white feather is a promise for a future, and that’s what Mothers of Africa is about. It’s also about a promise for the future of these kids,” said Judith.
Zambia Nursery School Campaign Launch
In December 2019, the two charities joined together to begin a campaign to build a Nursery School for 60 – 90 students in the rural village of Kanakantapa, in Chongwe, Zambia. The plan was to raise the necessary €35.000,00 and begin construction in June, when building time is optimal in the region. By February 2020, the fundraising had reached nearly 20% of the goal. Then the pandemic happened and the fundraising froze.
Due to precautions put in place to protect the population from COVID-19, which is expected to peak later this summer in Zambia, the build was put on pause and Mothers of Africa provided immediate support for the Chongwe District Hospital with basic sanitation supplies like soap.
The Good News
The school build isn’t canceled—it’s just put on hold until June 2021 when the weather and conditions will again be ideal to begin construction, and students who need to travel to assist with the project will presumably be able to do so. It also provides more time to raise additional funds and reach that original, necessary goal.
“People coming out of the COVID-19 crisis are now starting to think about charity giving so we’ve noticed just very recently an uptake in giving. We hope to have fundraising events starting back up again by the end of the year,” said Judith.
In the Meantime
The team at Mothers of Africa remains responsive throughout the pandemic by working on two timely projects:
The first, getting Zambian children safely back to school by providing face masks and soap. Mothers of Africa has already delivered several hundred masks, but because they have 4,000 more masks to distribute, they’re purchasing 6 sewing machines for a women’s sewing group in Chongwe. By commissioning them to sew the masks, they will empower these women through independence and the learning of a valuable skill, not to mention the legacy of having helped fulfill such a vital healthcare need in the community.
The second project involves assisting the local hospital in re-opening. This is achieved by providing antigen (virus) tests, thermometers, hygiene stations and necessary education/signage for the community to feel safe to return for services at the facility.
These two projects are being funded by the charity’s monetary reserves from other donors including the Welsh Government, and won’t utilize any of the funding designated for the new school in 2021.
That new nursery school will serve children ages 2 – 5, which is especially important in Zambia because their mothers are subsistence farmers. If the kids are home, they’re not getting the undivided attention they need at that age for proper development.
Judith encourages supporters to “Make a donation toward the school, for it will get these 90 kids out of the fields and into some type of structured, safe education and care.” When asked how she finds time to juggle being a full-time doctor and professor on the front-lines during a pandemic with the responsibility of leading a charity on another continent, she responds thoughtfully, “Because it matters.”
If you’d like to contribute to the new nursery school in Zambia, to be built in 2021, make a donation here. We greatly appreciate all who join us in our mission to Conserve Life.