When I became a mum I changed in so many ways. I became more patient, more giving, more aware of the bigger picture. I became more grateful for my little lot – happy healthy kids, loving partner, a roof over my head – but I also became more tired (oh so tired!) and bogged down in the everyday. When you’re trying to keep up with the treadmill of life it’s so easy to forget the good things and to just dwell on the negative, so every now and then I need a kick up the backside to remind me to take a breath & appreciate what I have. I got one when I was pregnant with Thomas & feeling extremely sorry for myself. And this week I got another, courtesy of Oxfam…
I recently received some information about their Bloggers Against Poverty campaign and whilst reading it, through sleep weary eyes, I got a bit of a reality check.
Did you know that 14.5% of Niger’s population suffers from malnutrition? 14.5% of people just don’t have enough food. Can you imagine, as a mum, not knowing where your child’s next meal is coming from? Can you imagine surviving on a diet of millet, rarely eating a vegetable and only drinking filthy water? As a parent it is our sole desire to see our children grow & flourish but the parents of Niger don’t even know if theirs will survive.
When their babies get ill with sickness & diarrhoea due to lack of nutrition and from waterborne diseases, these mums have no way of keeping their little ones clean. There’s no laundry facilities, no flushing toilets, no showers or washing stations. How can you nurse a sick child back to health without basic sanitation?!
With the help of Oxfam, that’s how.
Last year Oxfam helped 11.8 million people across the globe by working on the underlying causes of poverty. In Niger they are installing water tanks, laundry stations, latrines and shower blocks. The charity is also educating women on basic hygiene & nutrition, giving them the knowledge to provide the best care possible for their babies.
So yes, my 11 week old is keeping me up half the night and, yes, my 3 year old has turned into a hideously jealous strop-monster but I am so lucky to have them and to live where I do. I have free healthcare on my doorstep, clean running water, food for my babies. These are things that we take for granted but the women of Niger would give their left foot to be as fortunate as we are.
And to those women I say this, from one mother to another, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I occasionally take for granted the things which could prevent your child’s death. I’m sorry that you have to bring your children into an environment of such poverty and struggle. But you are not alone. Thanks to organisations like Oxfam and it’s supporters, change is happening and improvements are being made.
And to you, dear reader – from one mother to another – we can be a part of those efforts. It’s a long road, there is no quick fix but if we all pitch in then things can change. We can end poverty. Whether it’s donating old clothes & toys to your local Oxfam shop, jumping out of a plane or donating a few pounds every month, we can all make a difference.
(Photo credits: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Oxfam)