Managing Editor, Elizabeth Atalay, Senior and World Voice Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan, and Founder, Jennifer Burden on a video call to kick off the new season!
Welcome back, everyone!
This summer we all took a well needed “Blogcation” from the site. It was nice to take a break. The summer was busy for me and my family. We were in Europe and splashing along New Jersey’s coast in the USA, as well as, day tripping into New York City. Our adventures left very little time for sitting in front of a computer! But now that the kids are back to school, I am excited to be a part of picking up where we left off…
Getting back into the swing of things last week all started with Purnima in India posting to our editors’ group on Facebook: “Are we starting our posting schedule today?”, and then we all started scrambling into position from around the globe!
Elizabeth Atalay in the USA began organizing the schedule and surveying what had been written in the queue. She called me on the phone later in the week, and we agreed to organize our first Senior Editors meeting of the year. Kirsten was on jury duty in Canada, so we’d have to wait another week for her input. We agreed to meet on Wednesday morning. It was like getting all the Super Heros together!
Here’s how it all went down:
I chose 9:15am because it’s early enough in Purnima’s evening in India for her to attend, and it would give me enough time to get the kids on the bus, and then be back in time to fire up my computer with my cup of tea. However, one of my daughters slept in this morning, and I had to give her the full on mom physical — feel her head, take her temp, ask her questions — to see if she was ok to go to school. She was. So, after getting one kid on the bus, I had enough time to pack the other kid up, and drive her to school. So, not the calm stroll from the bus stop onto the video call that I envisioned! I messaged Purnima to let her know I’d be running late.
Once on the call, Purnima’s internet in India kept cutting out on us. It also took us both awhile to tinker and find the right mic and volume settings on each side. We FINALLY got it all going, and then out of the blue my husband comes running down the stairs and says in a panic, “I need a ride to the bus stop! I’m not going to make it, if I have to park! Sorry, I received a call I had to take a few minutes ago! Can you take me?” He had been working in the office upstairs, but needed to head to NYC for a meeting. So, I then had to end the video call. Yep. And I had to tell Purnima I’d call her when I got back from driving my husband to the bus.
It’s now after 10am. On the way back, I got a text from Elizabeth, “Did I miss the call?” She had other business this morning, and couldn’t get on earlier, but was now free. I say, “Perfect timing.”
I head back into the house, and before you know it, I’ve got both, Purnima and Elizabeth on the video call. Success!
Later, we share what we discussed in our editors’ group, and Senior Editor, Kirsten Doyle in Canada, got to add on to what we were building.
This about explains what it’s like behind the scenes, here, at World Moms Network. Did you expect something else?
We pull it all together. We always do. We’re the #WorldMoms. So, this is a note to let you know how grateful we are that you stop by here to read. We’re not in a big office building churning out editorials. We’re out and about around the globe, on the ground, and enthusiastic about making this work into our day. It really means a lot to us that you’re reading!
What can you look out for? #WorldMoms will be hitting New York City next week for events around the United National General Assembly. Elizabeth Atalay, Nicole Melancon and myself will be attending the Travel Blogger Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship. The Summit is a continuation from the White House Travel Blogger Summit that I attended in 2014. They have a great lineup of speakers and sponsors, whom we can’t wait to meet! The hashtag is #studyabroadbecause
Margie Webb in Arkansas and Tes Solomon in New York will be covering this year’s Social Good Summit in New York City hosted by the UN Foundation, Mashable, UNDP, and the 92nd St. Y! World Moms Network has been covering this event since 2011, and it’s always an interesting event to hear about the progress towards the world’s goals to end extreme poverty and more! The hashtag is #2030Now
Tes Solomon will also be attending a high level United Nations Summit on the Sustainable Development Goals, too! We are covering a lot of bases, and can’t wait to keep you posted on what we learn. Make sure you keep up with our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds September 21st-24th!
Drop us a line in the comments and let us know what you’d like to hear more about from us in the year to come! We’d love to hear from you. And…Welcome Back!
Founder of World Moms Network
Just last week, I found myself in Paris, France. I was about to meet my niece, who was studying abroad, but I gave myself an extra first day on my own. I made plans with our contributor in Paris, Marie Kléber, whom I didn’t know very well, but whom I was so excited to meet!
She met me at my hotel, and we headed out by metro to the area of Saint Martin. She helped me navigate purchasing my travel card, and led me to a trendy, “oh so good!”, vegan place for lunch. We sat on high stools looking out toward the street. We talked and talked and talked! (Mostly in English, but later switched to French!) I wanted to know all about her life. What her life was like in Paris as a mom. About the French elections happening the next day. She was curious about how World Moms Network got started, and if I had met any of the other World Moms and who! (Lucky to say, yes, I have!)
It felt surreal. I traveled all this way, and all of a sudden I have a good friend here whom I had never met before. But, it’s not a unique feeling. It’s the same feeling when Purnima from India met Ecoziva in Brazil. When Tara from Canada met Nancy in Tanzania. When Martine from the Philippines met Ruth in Singapore. When I met Mama B. from Saudi Arabia in NYC. In our own efforts we are satisfying (or igniting more!) curiosities about the world through meeting women from around the world. Woman who we wouldn’t come across in our towns or cities at home. We found them through this network.
In France I had a feeling of complete comfort in a foreign city that had just been the site of a terrorist attack the night before. After lunch Marie took me to see the statue of Rèpublique, a piece of her French heritage. Then, I assumed I’d just find my way back to my hotel on my own. I had such a fantastic time with her!!
But no, Marie, rode the metro back toward my hotel with me, out of her way. And walked me back to my hotel. She was going to tell me how best to get to a friend’s place for later tonight. It turned out it was only 2 blocks from where she lived. What are the chances of that? So, Marie insisted that she take me to my friend’s doorstep. And I insisted that she come in and meet my friend!
World Moms Network reminds me that the world isn’t so big. That there are amazing people to meet in every culture. We just have to reach out and allow ourselves to be connected. Let go of what is familiar. We may be surprised.
Marie gave me more than just great conversation, a tour around her home city, and sight-seeing tips for me and my niece. I had been feeling burnt out lately. I had spent so many years straight working and squeezing hours as though squeezing the last of the toothpaste to work on World Moms Network since 2010. And this past 100 days, watching how my own country is trying to defund the very life-saving global health programs that I’ve been writing about and passionately advocating for. Calling my Senators and Congressman. Reading. Disappointed. And on top of all that, busier in my children’s lives in my new role this year as Girl Scout Leader. And finally making exercise a priority for my health.
World Moms Network has continued to deliver while I have been juggling other life stages because of the strength of the team of women behind me. Just in case you ever thought that this site was just me, it’s sooo never been just me. Thank you to the World Moms who carry the torch when other World Moms just cannot.
It’s amazing how a conversation with a new friend thousands of miles away can take you back to what you stand for. For what you fight for. For peace. For friendship. For understanding. For cultural appreciation. For respect. For maturity. To help you find your footing. Guide you back to writing. To restore you energy.
It’s been awhile since I wrote. Thank you, Marie. I’m back.
This is an original post to World Moms Network by founder, Jennifer Burden, of New Jersey, USA.
Photo credits to the author.
My grandmother, Amelia, has been gone 3 years now. It is weird that she is not here, yet, I can still here her voice in my head. I remember how she would say an old fashioned, “How do you do?” to me and my toys or call soft serve ice cream “custard” on a hot Brooklyn’s summer’s day. She was always up for a walk after we ate, and one time we got lost, but eventually made our way back home! She always loved to read and talk and go. She got bored very easily. And, of course, there was always candy coated gum, “Chicklets”, in her purse to share. In fact, our 2nd post on World Moms Network, then World Moms Blog, in 2010 was about her life!
My favorite story was about how the family had run out of money during the Great Depression, and then she received a postcard in the mail from the State of New York to apply for free nursing training. It was her ticket out of upstate to come to the great, big city and pull her family out of the breadline. She was the responsible one in the family, ahead of her brothers (as she always told me!). And she knew what she needed to do. Amelia, my grandmother, answered the call, and was on her way to New York City to become a nurse.
Nursing was so important to my grandmother, and so far, no one in the family has carried on her torch in the medical field. So, when World Mom, Kristyn Zalota, had formed the nonprofit, Cleanbirth.org, and was looking for donations to train much needed nurse midwives in Laos, I decided it was the perfect way to pay tribute to my grandmother. It is a great feeling to be able to provide a woman today an opportunity of life changing healthcare training, like my grandmother had once received. It is our family’s way of paying it forward.
Cleanbirth.org was founded in response to Laos having one of the worst maternal death rates on the planet. Attributing to these rates was the lack of adequate or accessible health care in rural areas and absence of sanitary supplies needed to prevent infection during birth.
Today, Cleanbirth.org in cooperation with Yale University, has trained over 300 midwives and provided over 5,000 birth kits. It has been incredible to see Kristyn’s dream to help woman and babies be carried out as the organization grows.
This year Cleanbirth.org is seeking to train in 43 clinics this year! Every dollar helps. Whether you can chip in for or towards a $5 birth kit, or train a midwife for $240, no donation is too small or too large! Just five dollars donated pays for a sanitary birthing kit, which also includes transportation for the midwives to attend a birth.
Here is a message from Cleanbirth.org founder and World Mom, Kristyn Zalota:
World Moms Network community, please join me, as we seek to raise $1000 for the training of nurse midwives and birth kits this year! Whether you’d like to contribute to train a nurse midwife for $240 or chip in toward a $5 birth kit or anywhere in between, no donation is too small!
Here is the link to World Moms Network’s Cleanbirth.org funding page. Won’t you join us to help save the lives of more moms and babies, as well as, give more woman the opportunity to midwife training? Let’s do this! (And thank you!)
This is an original post to World Moms Network from founder and CEO, Jennifer Burden in New Jersey, USA.
Cleanbirth.org is a 501c3 with no paid staff members. In the USA donations to Cleanbirth.org are tax deductible.
Save the Children lit up the Empire State Building red on October 11th, 2016 for International Day of the Girl, attracting attention to the rights of girls worldwide. Seen here is actress, Dakota Fanning, Save’s CEO and President, Carolyn Miles and from L-R super girls Colette, Miracle, Katie and Antonella. Photo credit: Save the Children
Look UP, New Yorkers!!! For the first time EVER the Empire State Building is RED today for International Day of the Girl!! This morning, World Moms Network was invited to cover Save the Children’s lighting of the Empire State Building in New York City. The ceremony included Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children, actress Dakota Fanning, and 4 strong girls — Colette, Antonella, Kate and Miracle — who may appear small, but have incredibly large hearts. The girls used their voices today to make a statement for the rights of girls everywhere.
Kate is an American girl of 10 years old from Connecticut who sponsors two girls through Save the Children, one in Ethiopia and one in Uganda. She says that she sends a lot of letters to her girl counterparts overseas!
“Life is very different for the girls. They can’t just go to a supermarket like we do. They have to grow their own food.”, says Kate.
Kate explained that the girls have to walk to school, and their school is not very close. She says, “I can just take the bus and get to school in 15 minutes. They can’t.” Her sponsored children also don’t have as much time for after school activities like sports because they have to help out at home.
Kate dreams of going to Ethiopia and Uganda to meet her friends. Her sponsorship started as a holiday gift, and she enjoyed the global friendship so much that she asked to sponsor another girl.
Why the importance of focusing on girls? Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children states,
“Girls are twice as likely to never start school than boys. And there are more girls out of school than boys.”
So not fair, right????
Some of the global issues that keep girls from getting the chance to hit the books are child marriage, societal pressures to help out at home while their brothers go to school, menstruation, and more.
Raising awareness to the issue was actress and artist, Dakota Fanning, who attracted the paparazzi to a cause that she is very passionate about. Dakota is a Save the Children Ambassador, and she spoke to the press about the importance of getting more girls in school worldwide. She totally shines. Please do follow and use the hashtag #SheShines to tell us who inspires you on this International Day of the Girl. Thank you, Dakota, for using your large platform for girls!
Save the Children Ambassador, Dakota Fanning, at the top of the Empire State Building for International Day of the Girl on October 11th, 2016. #SheShines Photo credit: Save the Children
Miracle joined the kid sponsors on the platform, but her story is not one of sponsorship, but of being sponsored in rural South Carolina. She was proud to join Save the Children to speak up for girls like her and seemed to hit it off instantly with her new girlfriends!
From L-R: Save the Children girl power: Kate, Miracle, Colette and Antonella. Photo credit: Save the Children.
World Moms Network is proud of these girls for raising their voices for girls everywhere! If you’d like to sponsor a child, please go to Save the Children.
Here’s a sneak peak at the red Empire State Building! (Better photo to come!)
The Empire State Building was lit red on October 11th, 2016 for International Day of the Girl by Save the Children. Photo credit to Marshall Kanfer.
This is an original post to World Moms Network’s founder and CEO, Jennifer Burden in New Jersey, USA. Jennifer is the proud sponsor of a girl in the USA through Save the Children and voluntarily covered this story.
Jennifer Burden, Founder & CEO of World Moms Network
As part of World Moms Blog’s collaboration with BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood®, our World Moms are writing posts on maternal health around the world. In today’s post, Jennifer Burden writes about Jacaranda Health’s impact on maternal health in Kenya.
“Whether you are thinking about getting pregnant, currently pregnant, or a seasoned birther, there is one thing that we can all agree about avoiding. Lines in the maternity ward!! Big ones. HUGE. Because, hey, when a mother’s gotta birth, a mother’s gotta birth, right? Get out of our way, we’re coming through!!!
Long lines are the reality for moms who seek to give birth in public clinics in Kenya. Add lack of good procedures to prevent infection, being disrespected by health workers, rushed care, and overlooked emergencies to the mix; and Kenyan women report having bad experiences at public clinics. Giving birth can be frightening and dangerous for moms here. The Kenyan government is committed to help; however, there is little oversight or training to make the improvements needed…”
Read the full post, Maternal health worth traveling miles for in Kenya, over at BabyCenter’s Mission Motherhood®!
“For Trayvon” by artist, A’driane Nieves. Acrylic on paper.
In college, I had a black professor for a “Racism in the Americas” class. The students were overwhelmingly white and there was one brown girl, who had to give the opinion of what it was like to be black in America for everyone who is black in America when it came to discussion. The professor came to class every day with a nice suit jacket on, which wasn’t common of all the liberal arts professors in the building during that time. It was a little fancy. He explained that he had to wear it. He explained that it helped him from not being pulled over by the police.
This was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing. I was 19 or 20 when I took the class, yet, I had no idea that racial profiling existed.
The professor said that he had been arrested 6 times just because he fit the description, 6 foot black male. Sometimes on his way to the university to teach his class, “Racism in the Americas”, at an esteemed private university. He said that if he was dressed up, he hoped he was less likely to get stopped. That was in the mid 90s.
Fast forward to the 2010’s and the internet has shed a great big spotlight on racism across America. And it’s HUGE. And racial profiling, IT’S STILL A THING. A really big thing. And black people being MURDERED FOR NO GOOD REASON IS A THING. We can’t turn our heads, America.
So today, I’m asking you to follow two black American women who have been very vocal in the conversation of the social injustice of black people in America. I have learned more and more about my own country from following Kelly Wickham, who founded “Being Black at School” and US veteran and artist, A’driane Nieves, also known as addyeB.
Through the site, Being Black at School, Wickham empowers “parents and educators to make the school system a safe place for black children.” You can also donate to make this happen, too.
And Nieves says, “I live for sharing my thoughts, heart, and stories through my work, be it on a canvas or written word. I also live for seeing and loving those in the margins because that is where I’ve always existed.” Not only can you read her passionate stories of activism, but you can buy her gorgeous art.
Wickham and Nieves’ messages are strong and needed in this country. They are pushing to make a difference to help end racism. They are both a HUGE inspiration to me, and I want to share them with the world.
This is an original post to World Moms Network by founder, Jennifer Burden.
Photo credit to A’Driane Nieves.