Universal, Global, Local and Personal

Mothers Day

Universal: On Sunday May 11th, we celebrate Mothers Day. Another Hallmark moment? I don’t think so. It is good to have the opportunity to reflect on the universal phenomenon of motherhood. We may not all BE mothers but we all have, even if ever so fleetingly, a mother. Our Mothers, to a great extent, define who we are, how we view the world, how we view ourselves. They also determine how we in turn “mother”.

Personal: Though she is no longer with me, I daily thank my mother for the person she was, for the mother she was. She was many, many beautiful things but most of all she loved, unconditionally and unequivocally and she taught me how to love. I was very, very lucky. (And so are my kids!)

Global: Sometimes, the missing element is as defining as the mother who is present. Through a beautiful film, co-funded by the Stephen Lewis Foundation, ”A Grandmother’s Tribe”, I learnt of the plight of the approximately 13 million AIDS related orphans of Africa (many of whom are HIV positive) and the Grandmothers, now substitute mothers, who have assumed the burden of raising them. The film, a New Zealand production, has no narration, simply the voice of two of these amazing ”mothers” and the stories they have to tell. Spellbinding stuff.

For more information go to the film’s webpage at http://www.agrandmotherstribe.com/

 “These two incredible women represent thousands of their kind who, in this late stage of life, are literally starting over again to raise orphaned children — feeding, educating and caring for the “sickly” ones. The challenge is enormous as they deal with the grief of their own losses and poor health in order to feed, educate and care for an ever-growing number of orphaned children. They struggle on a daily basis to come to terms with a disease they do not understand — an unnamed disease whose stigma isolates them further from the communities they depend on to survive.”

Global: When I saw the film it was presented by a tiny organization called “Voiceless Children”. When I say “tiny” it is basically just 2 people, Felix Masai, himself a Kenyan orphan who went on to become an award-winning international photojournalist and Susie Banfield, an American grand-mother he met who couldn’t say “no”. “Voiceless Children is a foundation that can bring hope to those women and children who are struggling and have been forgotten. Helping these women to be self-sufficient is a goal that can be accomplished” says Banfield. Rather than any recognition of Mothers day I have asked my family to make a donation to the Grandmothers of Africa – you can too at www.voicelesschildren.org .

Local: The Stephen Lewis Foundation (Stephen Lewis was a former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations and U.N. Special Envoy for a Humanitarian Efforts.) has spawned across Canada, groups of Gogo’s (“Gogo” is the Zulu word for Grandmother), grandmothers who have banded together at a local level to fund-raise and gather support for their counterparts in Africa. http://www.stephenlewisfoundation.org/

The Vancouver group (who call themselves the Van Gogos) are holding a massive multi-block garage sale on Saturday May 10th to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation “Grandmother’s to Grandmother’s” campaign. Be there! May 10th from 10am to 3 pm on W 13th Ave between Maple and Cypress.

Pangea Day : Good Old TED again!

Global: In 2006, award-winning Egyptian-American filmaker Jehane Noujaim won the TED prize and accordingly was granted a wish. Noujaim wished for “world peace”, but more specifically a day in which the world would be united through film with the common purpose of promoting global understanding and world peace. Noujaim was responsible for the documentary “Control Room” which “exposed the very divergent ways the Arabs and the West covered the war”.

Pangea is the ancient Greek word meaning the entire world and her wish comes true on Saturday May 10th when Pangea Day will unite the globe with the broadcast, in 7 different languages, of 24 short films selected from an International competition that generated over 2,500 submissions from over 100 countries. The films were chosen based on their ability to inspire, transform, and allow us to see the world through another person’s eyes.” The program will also include a number of exceptional speakers and musical performances and is expected to be watched by millions of viewers worldwide. To be one of them go to http://www.pangeaday.org/

To view Jehane Noujaim accept her TED prize and express her wish go to

mail.jpgLocal: I was initially told about Pangea Day by reader Peppa Martin. Peppa is the truth and beauty behind ‘Truth and Beauty’, a fine art photography business which incorporates Peppa Martin Photography, Pickles & Ice Cream, baby and children’s portraiture and teacup greetings , an exquisite line of handmade notecards. Check her out at www.truthandbeauty.ca

2 Responses

  1. Jan Fairley Says:

    Hey Peg,

    I love what you’re doing here!


  2. Susie Banfield Says:

    Thanks a million for your kind words and bringing notice to Voiceless Children. I truly believe that it is the grassroots organizations that make a difference and keep the movement of one sky one world going. We may be small, but through folks like you we continue to grow.

    Good Job.

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