I love being a mother and I’m forever grateful for my children. It has not always been so smooth through pregnancy, childbirth, and nurturing but I’m constantly learning, praying and evolving as I navigate through this journey of motherhood. We have been blessed with two gorgeous boys who are to me everything that I could have asked or wished for. They are sweet in their own right and sometimes can be thorns in each other’s flesh (sibling rivalry). I don’t dare say I know much about that as I am an only child so did not have to fight over toys with any sibling. Nonetheless I get to watch the love and bond that both boys share which is beyond every little fight that exist between the two.
Raising boys has its own challenges but I guess the same can be said about girls too (any help from mums with girls?) This should be another topic for discussion sometime later. Often times I get friends asking me how I manage with two boys? I don’t always have an answer but rather say to them; do I need a formula to manage boys? I believe every child is an individual with unique strengths that need to be nurtured by parents and not go by society’s norms to raising boys or girls in a certain way. Every child is created different and no two children are the same even twins. I am not a perfect parent but I pray and strive to be the best mother to our children.
This topic of motherhood and experiences came up during a discussion with a group of mum friends at one of the children’s parties we had attended. As usual we sat around and chatted over finger foods and tried to catch up on what we had been up to. A mum who was still nursing her then 4-month old baby told us about her birthing experience since she was a first time mum and wanted to hear from some of us who had been there before. You sometimes feel you have a lot of experience after a second or a third child and can give the most advice to new mums. This was her question to us: ‘so how was it like during the birth of your first child? Were you so nervous or scared? My answer to her was simple; I was just SCARED! (more…)
Earlier this year, the Ghanaian Food and Drugs Authority announced that it would enforce a ban on the importation of skin bleaching creams that contain the harmful ingredient known as hydroquinone. The news was received with much anticipation, and has since been talked about on many news platforms all around the world. Hydroquinone is noted to cause damage to the skin and can cause severe skin dermatitis. According to research quoted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, hydroquinone may even act as a carcinogen or cancer-causing chemical.
A campaign dubbed “Love Your Natural Skintone” was launched in Ghana by actress Ama Abebrese, with the support of other female celebrities, to encourage people to love the skin they are in. It spurred a lot of interest amongst the young and the old as the outspoken actress took to radio and television to talk about the cause. The Ama K Abebrese Foundation has erected billboards to create awareness of the campaign throughout Ghana. The campaign “Love Your Natural Skintone” has since engaged students through debates and forums on the subject of self care.
Some months have passed, and we still see the sale and use of skin bleaching creams in the country. Although the ban was reported to officially take effect from August 2016, according to the Ghana Standards Authority, very little has been seen to have happened regarding this subject. I’ve spoken with with shop owners who still sell such products, and they tell me that skin bleaching creams sell, so they keep them on the shelves. Entrepreneurs say that, despite the ban, they will always find a way to bring skin lightening creams into the market for their customers, since the demand is so high.
In my opinion, it will take more than a ban to prevent people who are currently using creams with hydroquinone to whiten their skin. Proper education must be done at both the grassroots and national levels to show firsthand the health implications such creams have on consumers. We must all join together in the campaign to say no to this menace.
Are skin lightening creams popular where you live? What efforts have been made to encourage people to love the skin they’re in?
This is an original post written by Adowa Gyimah of Ghana for World Moms Network.
Photo courtesy of The Ama K Abebrese Foundation, Ghana.
I am often asked why I decided to enrol my mainstream children in an inclusive school. I did a great deal of research when looking for the best school for my family, and I was encouraged by the testimonials of parents who had chosen this path for their mainstream children. I decided that an inclusive education was the best choice for my children.
Inclusion in education is an approach that seeks to embrace students of all abilities, including those with special educational needs. In inclusive schools, students with special needs learn side-by-side with their non-disabled peers. This educational approach avoids the use of separate schools or classrooms to separate students with disabilities from those without.
The inclusive school I chose for my children is the first of its kind in Ghana. Multikids Inclusive Academy is an inclusive international school educating children of all educational needs and abilities in a co-existing learning environment. In this school, children with special needs are not separated from the children without – they are integrated in the same class.
The school provides the best of both worlds to children with special of all abilities. They maintain small class sizes, making it possible for every child to get the assistance and attention they need. The school envisions a society where all people can live side by side respectfully and appreciate that we each have a unique contribution to make to the world. The academy seeks to build confidence and competency in all learners, and to promote excellence through an enabling environment. In this school, every child truly matters.
I am so happy that a school like this one exists in Accra, Ghana. My children will benefit from learning side-by-side with students of all abilities, and will learn that all children can reach their potential with the right support and encouragement.
Do you have inclusive schools where you live? Would you consider an inclusive education for your child?
This is an original post written by Adowa Gyimah of Ghana for World Moms Blog.
Photo courtesy of Multikids Inclusive Academy, Ghana.
One day I was in New York City at the United Nations among World Leaders, and the next in rural Massachusetts milking a goat. Though the two may seem totally unrelated, they are actually intertwined. It will take both the efforts of world leaders and small share farm holders for the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals to ever succeed. As a social good writer I had been to New York City for UN General Assembly week and the Social Good Summit, and then to Heifer International’s Farm located in rural Rutland, Massachusetts, where World Moms Blog had been invited to their first ever Media Day.
The new set of Global Goals are focused on sustainability which is one of the cornerstones of Heifer International’s approach. Heifer International was founded by Dan West based on his experience as a relief worker. He realized the aid work he was doing needed a new model to help those in need become self-sufficient as opposed to continually reliant on aid. As a farmer he knew that a gift of livestock was a gift that would keep on giving. A heifer refers to a pregnant cow, and in 1944 the first dairy cattle were shipped, and Heifer International born.
“Heifer International is a non-profit, humanitarian organization dedicated to ending hunger and poverty and caring for the earth. Heifer currently provides livestock, trees, seeds and training in environmentally sound agriculture to families in 30 countries, including the United States. We work with smallholder farming families and communities because we believe they are key to feeding us all.”- Heifer International
The goal of Heifer International is to help communities transform themselves through education, environmental stewardship, empowerment of women in the community, and the legacy of passing on generations of animals and knowledge. This in turn generates the accomplishment of the once recipient turning into a donor in their community.
At World Moms Blog we have written about Heifer International in the past, included Heifer International in gift guides, and followed their trip last summer to Malawi with our friends at ONE Girls and Women. We had no idea however that Heifer International had a farm to showcase their programs this close to home. As it turns out, just over an hour from where I live is this hidden gem of global education!
At Heifer Farm in Rutland Massachusetts we toured the flourishing ¾ acre farm garden where we were encouraged to pull vegetables out of the ground and taste as we went along. A delicious fresh beet hummus, with a rainbow of carrot colors I had no idea they grew in, was served. Apparently the massive size of the vegetables grown at Heifer Farm has to do with the rich soil quality based on the farming techniques used, the same techniques taught to small share farmers working with Heifer International around the world. After the garden tour we had lunch in Peru.
Peru is one of the eight global villages at Heifer Farm that provide experiential, hands on learning through programs ranging from day trips to week-long camps for all ages. We then meandered through China and Ghana on our way to the barn. This brings us back to milking the goat, and to the tiny baby piglets we got to hold, and all I could think was how crazy my kids would have been for everything. I can not wait to bring them back to experience Heifer Farm! Other Heifer International sites in the US include Heifer Ranch in Perryville, and Heifer Village in Little Rock, Arkansas. If you ever have the chance to visit, I highly recommend it. If you do be sure to bring the kids, after all they are the future generation who will be seeing these new Sustainable Development Goals through to 2030. Global Goals that all stakeholders will need to be involved in, large and small.
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Elizabeth Atalay who also writes at documama.org.
Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.
Being an advocate for children and mothers, especially the needy in the society, means supporting and standing for the rights of these vulnerable individuals in the society. Children should not be left to their own devices without the able help of an adult; preferably a mother. That is why no woman should die giving life to another.
Birth is a beautiful thing and must be a happy moment in the lives of every family, most importantly the mother. But sometimes the process of giving life can be very traumatic and sometimes the unexpected even happens. Postpartum hemorrhage(PPH) is defined medically as the loss of more than 500 ml of blood within the first twenty-four hours following childbirth and is the leading cause of maternal mortality in low-income countries, and the primary cause of nearly a quarter of all maternal deaths globally. In some cases this condition is known to occur up to six weeks after delivery. There are various forms of treatment, of which blood transfusions is the most common; yet In the developing world, health systems are faced with enormous constraints that hinder the prompt delivery of obstetric care, which is vital for saving the lives of women who develop PPH.
A beneficiary of blood transfusion myself, I know its relevance to both the mother and the baby. It is therefore crucial at any point in time during birthing to have stock of blood in the blood bank for such emergencies.
In Ghana, there have been campaigns to donate blood as most of the blood banks are running low on their stock. Many corporate bodies have joined the campaign to ensure that this is achieved so that more lives can be saved when the need arises. Over the years, we have all contributed to replenishing the blood banks by donating pints of blood to the various health centers that need them. Last year, our organization, The African Child and Mother collected several pints of blood to replenish the blood bank at the Tema General Hospital and the Tema Polyclinic as part of our “February love month”.
This year however, as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility of some large corporate institutions, there were activities held today in the capital city to organize blood donation with the same aim of replenishing the blood banks. We believe that other corporate institutions and individuals will follow suit and donate blood to save a life because giving blood means giving life.
It is my personal appeal to all and sundry that we volunteer to give life by donating blood especially during this love month.
Wishing everyone a giving valentine!
Have you ever given blood or needed to receive it yourself?
Picture courtesy Graphic online
This is an original post written by Adowa Gyimah of Ghana for World Moms Blog.