Lessons From My Mama
In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.
Alice Walker
My mother taught me many things.  She taught me to love Sam Cooke and good music in general. She taught me the importance of being intellectually curious  and the value of community. She modeled for me how to be a great wife, a kind sister, a giving daughter and how to be a nurturing mother. She also taught me one of the most profound lessons in my life- She taught me how to love, care and respect  other women.

She taught me to appreciate  the beauty and love  that women create….. That I could and would always have a voice with other women. I could be outspoken, and emotional, I could be smart and funny… that I could be fully me.  That my light could shine.  That I come from a long line of warriors.

That a community of  women would always be  a safe place for me.  Always.

I learned these lessons from an early age as I sat in her lap and listened to her soothing voice.  Women are brave and courageous and they are to be admired.  I learned these lessons at her knee. I reveled in the  the strength of sisterhood and my personal connection to all women…everywhere.
My mama was smart cookie.
This blog post is in honor of MY mother but really is  in honor of the sisterhood and a way for me to show my love  and admiration for strong mamas all over the world.

Suraya Pakzad

Suraya is an outspoken advocate for women in Afghanistan. Unlike most advocates for women in Afghanistan, she works  in Western Afghanistan, running its only shelter to protect and provide critical services for women fleeing violent homes. She lives with death threats and attacks on her reputation, as she has since 1998, while the Taliban still controlled Afghanistan.

Suraya’s organization, Voice of Women , not only provides shelter to the women that need it, but also holistic psychosocial programs to meet the needs of the women of Western Afghanistan, including providing family counseling, legal counseling and self-sufficiency training. Voice of Women is a great example of how effective and cost efficient an organization created, managed and staffed by Afghans can be successful.We all know that a successful  programs does not always equal  increase funding.

 Recently, Suraya’s funding  challenges increased when the Afghan government withdrew support for women’s shelters.

But she will not be stopped. No strong Mama can ever be stopped.

To Mama With Love

Show a mama that you love and support her through the To Mama With Love program,  hundreds of artist, bloggers, mamas, daughters and advocates  aim to raise grassroots support for Suraya and other amazing women  transforming their communities through love and action. To Mama With Love is a social media campaign run by Stacey Monk of Epic Change.  The site attracted over 13,000 visits from across the globe and raised nearly $17,000, which was invested to build a children’s home in Arusha, Tanzania for Mama Lucy. Construction is already complete, and children have now become residents of this home built from love.

Unlike other fundraising campaigns, To Mama With Love is not founded on the typical donor-recipient relationship but is focused around a celebration of equality and mutual support. Its a simple premise- motivate people with stories of women that are doing great, wonderful work in order to encourage them to reflect on the great work that the women in their lives have done.

 The donations are in the forms of “heart spaces” dedicated to the donor’s mother or another individual. 

 You can create a “heartspace” for Surya by using this special link:: https://www.tomamawithlove.org/?aid=a87ff679a2f3e71d9181a67b7542122c  or please create one for any of the other amazing women and projects highlighted this year. You can learn more here.

 Join me in a  goal of reaching 500 heart spaces raised through the Suraya campaign by the end of the week.

No strong Mama can ever be stopped and her voice and purpose  can never be silenced. A strong mama will always find a way to teach us the lessons we need to learn

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