Mother's Day is around the corner and this 13th May, Sajida Foundation is out to make a difference. The foundation aims to recognise the extremely poor mothers who remain unappreciated, unrecognised and in the shadows, even though they work tirelessly.
This Mother's Day we are starting to collect and publish Letters to Sons, written by mothers of all shapes and sizes with words of inspiration, advice and love to guide boys and men to empathise and understand women better. Share with care and send us your letters!
The first Letter is by Zareen Mahmud Hosein, Founder of HerStory Foundation.
I am grateful that you came into my life. My heart is filled with joy every moment that I am around you. You are five and a half years old now and are just beginning to read. Meanwhile I read to you every night and we have our conversations about the world around us. I see in you glimpses of a future adult, steeped in kindness and thoughtfulness.
You often ask me why do we read about Supergirls? And I tell you, that we read about them because the world is full of books about heroic boys and men, but not so much about girls. One night, I point out to you that most of the other books we read together have male protagonists. You do not forget our conversation, and come to me a few days later to tell me excitedly that two of your favourite series have both male and female leading characters: Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly’s Magic Kingdom. My heart swells with pride and hope at your ability to see the silver lining of every cloud.
I ask you before Eid what present to get for your nanny. “A pair of sandals,” is your answer because you had noticed her current pair is frayed. Your response puts me to shame because I failed to notice but it also makes me believe you will always be caring of those around you.
I feel helpless when you ask, “Why are there children on the streets and where are their parents?” I tell you that if we keep working hard and taking care of the people around us, one day there will be no more children without parents on our streets. You believe me with the innocence of a five and a half year old and you promise to always work hard.
One day you bring back a book about Tiger Sharks from the library. As we read about how humans hunt sharks you become upset and tell me even if sharks are violent against us, we, as more intelligent beings should not hunt or harm them. I tell you that we slaughter many animals for food and you are astounded. Never before did you make the connection that beef came from cows. I realise this is how we lose our innocence by dashes of reality. Our world is more complicated than it appears to be.
In life you will have to decide which path to walk. Some roads will be long and windy and full of adventure but others will get you to the end faster. Whichever road you take, my advice is if there is someone with you who falls down in the journey, you pull them up. It will take longer to get to the finish line, but you will live with a happier soul.
I pray that whichever path you walk, you are always optimistic, kind and fair even when life is harsh.
At Sajida's Pavement Dweller Centres (PDCs), many poor working mothers leave their children in the safety of the Day Care Centres, to go to work. These mothers come from different backgrounds with different professions. From beggars to micro-entrepreneurs, every mother struggles to provide a better future for her child. Leaving their child at the PDC Day Cares ensures that the child has a clean and secure shelter where s/he gets nutritious food, clean water, non-formal education and other essential requirements for the well-being of the children.
The Foundation's communications team is already engaged in documenting their stories through writing and video vlogs. Their aim is to bring these stories to the world so that when we celebrate Mother's Day on 13 May, we do not forget the domestic help at our house, the beggar we met on the street, the vegetable vendor we met in the morning, the ayah at our children's schools or those who serve us coffee every day at work. All mothers deserve to feel the same warmth of love and appreciation - that is the right of every mother on Mother's Day.
Sajida Foundation is a progressive, positive, pro-poor, eco-friendly non-profit organisation dedicated to its raison d'etre of bringing health, happiness and dignity in the lives of the less fortunate. Sajida thrives to bring about meaningful and sustainable change defined by its values of family first, innovation and quality, dignity, equality, inclusiveness, empowerment of women, transparency and accountability.