Today I am excited to have a dear friend of mine, Nicola, from Nicola Herring Photography do a guest blog post about her time in Africa. Nicola has an amazing BIG heart and is coordinating a project funding a project helping woman in Africa. Myself, along with several other photographer are collaborating with Nicola and offering some awesome prizes AND TWO FREE PHOTO SHOOTS.
As mothers day quickly approaches, our hearts and minds turn to fond thoughts of our moms and mothering women we know, especially when they have impacted our lives in a special and significant way. Motherhood is such a beautiful thing isn’t it!? And so, we have dedicated a day to celebrate all the women in our country who have devoted their lives to raising, loving and encouraging us. We pamper her and buy her gifts, take her out to dinner or send her to the spa so she knows how much we love and appreciate her. And every mother truly does deserves those things, especially my mum!
But have you ever thought about all the other mothers of the world? Have you ever wondered what its like to be a mom in a third world country? To most of us, it wouldn’t be quite as glamorous. Often these women don’t even have their basic needs met. She will go without so she can feed her children or sacrifice everything she has going for herself to make sure her children have the best opportunity instead. In extreme cases a mother may abandon or give up her child for adoption because she is so poor she literally cannot take care of them. And because disease and HIV are so prevalent, young girls may find themselves taking on the motherly role due to a parent’s death. Can you even imagine these scenarios? So, so sad…
I was recently in Africa photographing for a new project called “Sister Acts”, a project geared towards partnering with women in third world countries to help them with basic needs so they do not find themselves in the above situations. I got to witness firsthand this disturbing poverty and I knew I wasn’t going to come home without being changed. The faces of the women and girls in those poor villages has forever been engrained on my heart.
This year as mothers day is on its way, I cannot sit still while we celebrate and glamorize “Mootherhood in America” even though I know that every mother truely deserves the recognition. There will be some women in other parts of the world who wont even be eating that day because she used her last penny to feed her family or to make sure she has enough money to send her child to school.
This makes me sick to the stomach, especially for those young girls whose parents can actually afford to send them to school. That mother sacrificed all she had to make sure her child gets an education. But then…her daughter gets her first period and…the cycle of poverty starts all over again. Let me explain why…
One of the things that impacted me the most from my time in Africa was an event we went to in Kenya that was geared towards helping young girls and women with providing reusable sanitary kits along with health and HIV education. Owning more than one pair of underwear is considered a luxury, and sanitary supplies are often too expensive for them to buy. So, they go without and you can imagine what that might look like when a girl or woman menstruates and she doesn’t have access to feminine products. Some girls shared with us that they sometimes may even use rocks, leaves or old rags. And we complain because “disposable pads are uncomfortable!?” But the saddest part of this is that a girl may drop out of school after she gets her first period because of the embarrassment, harassment and ridicule she may experience. Because of this natural thing that every woman’s body goes through, she looses her education and her future because she does not have access to sanitary supplies. These young girls will sometimes resort to “selling” themselves so they can buy the sanitary supplies they need in order to stay in school and as a result may become pregnant or contract HIV. And so a vicious cycle begins again. But if we could supply her with sanitary supplies and keep her in school she may never have to find her self in the vicious cycle at all!
In Africa they say “If you want to change a nation, give a girl an education.” My friend, James Waruiru, from Fountain of Hope and the one who put on the event we attended in Kenya, has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know. Each month he helps over 300 girls by providing sanitary supplies and health/HIV teaching so they can stay in school and get the education they need. James currently has a fundraising challenge going on over at globalgiving.org. He is trying to raise $5000 to help ensure continued supply of sanitary products to girls and widows in his community. Myself, along with four other photographer friends have come together to see James’ challenge become a success and this is where you come in!
This mothers day, will you consider making a donation in honor of your mom or mother figure in your life? Will you celebrate her AND a young girl in Kenya by donating to James’ global giving challenge? If a girl can stay in school and get the education she wants she will ultimately be able to decide for herself when she gets married and starts a family instead of being forced into motherhood and poverty at too young of an age.
THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR DONATION? YOU WILL BE ENTERED INTO A FREE DRAWING FOR EITHER A FABULOUS GIFT BASKET OR 1 OF 2 PHOTO SESSIONS! AND BOOM…YOU HELPED A GIRL STAY IN SCHOOL AND YOU ENTERED YOURSELF TO WIN A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR YOU OR YOUR MOTHER! SO, WILL YOU PARTNER WITH US TO SEE JAMES’ CHALLENGE IS MET!?!? LET’S RAISE $5000 FOR JAMES AND THE GIRLS HE HELPS!!
Ok, folks..this is where you come in. If you are interested in joining Nicola and I in this challenge AND winning some good stuff….here is the details.
Give a donation of $25-$49 and you will be entered in the drawing for one of three gift baskets. Baskets will include some awesome items which have been generously donated from these fabulous vendors:
- Fine Truffles and Rooibos Tea from Cafe Chocolate FACEBOOK
- Calligraphy Inspirational Framed Print from Aperçu
- Inspirational Quote print from Raw Art Letterpress
- Bubble Necklace from Green Eyed Lady FACEBOOK
- Handmade Flower Accessory from Simply Amber Co FACEBOOK
- A handmade wristlet from JAlmodovar FACEBOOK
- Hairspray and teasing brush from Rachel Kuc Studio
- Ethiopian Coffee Beans from Lonely Monk Coffee FACEBOOK
- Handmade bag made in Africa from Neema Project
BUT WAIT! IT GETS BETTER! Myself, Nicola, Circle of Life Photography, Andrea Warden Photography and Amanda Kirkham Photography have all teamed up and come together to offer two unique and fun photo sessions as well! A donation of $50 or more and you will be entered into the drawing for one of these two photo session options + a gift basket:
- One collaborative stylized Portrait session with Marci and myself for a teen or woman OR
- One collaborative stylized Family session with Nicola, Andrea and Amanda
So here are the rules to be entered into the drawing:
1) Head on over to James’ challenge page on Globalgiving.org (CLICK HERE TO DONATE) and make your donation.
- $25 = 1 entry to win 1 of 3 gift baskets
- $50 or more = 1 entry to win a photo session + gift basket
- $100 or more = 2 entries to win a photo session + gift basket
- $200 or more = 3 entries to win a photo session + gift basket
- $500 or more = 4 entries to win a photo session + gift basket
- $1000 or more = 6 entries to win a photo session + gift basket
2) THEN, come back here to my blog and leave a comment to let me know you made your donation. Please make note of which photo session option you’d like to be entered for (Min. $50 donations only.)
3) Come back to the blog on May 6th to see if you are 1 of the 5 lucky winners of the drawing! Drawings will be done at random from donation entries we receive.
We hope that you will join us to celebrate women and girls all over the world this mothers day!! Donations/entries are being taken until April 30th, 2013 at 9:00pm
SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?? DONATE NOW!!