In 1989, I approached a small group of friends and asked if they would help me offer much needed supplies, food, and caring attention to a crowded and under-funded orphanage just across the border from our home in San Diego. Their answer was an enthusiastic ‘Yes!’ My mind has often wandered back to that generous and heart expanding moment and the joyful experiences that followed.
Today, 32 years and 17 countries later, I continue in gratitude and awe knowing there are many people in the world who care deeply for those who suffer, and many who suffer will benefit profoundly from knowing there are people who care. If you are reading this letter, you are someone who cares deeply for those who suffer, and perhaps you have also benefited from someone caring for you during a time of personal suffering.
Building a bridge of compassion to connect us all—those who care and those who need our caring—has been at the heart of Mothers Without Borders since its inception, and continues to drive our efforts today. As part of our mission to strengthen communities, empower women, and protect and nurture vulnerable children, we are mindful of the need to create and continually improve community-centered programs to ensure sustainable and lasting impact.
This year was one of remarkable growth for Mothers Without Borders. Here are some of the highlights we experienced in 2021 as we expanded our programs in Zambia:
- Generous donors made it possible for us to build new housing and increase the number of orphaned, vulnerable, and abused children we can serve at the Children’s Resource Center in Zambia.
- We increased the number of children served by our food security programs by 340%. This is in response to the sharp rise in starvation since the COVID pandemic began. The Children’s Feeding Program—designed by MWB and implemented by local volunteers in some of the poorest communities in Zambia—currently serves a hot meal to more than 3,000 school-aged children each day. It has been amazing to see that, in addition to providing nutrition, enrollment in these community schools has increased by as much as 50%. The impact of these feeding programs has been profound—and the cost to feed one child in our feeding programs is only $2.03 per month.
- The Be That Girl program, which educates and empowers young women to encourage self-determination and reduce the alarming number of child marriages (of which Zambia has one of the highest rates in the world), and our Women’s Empowerment Clubs, which promote literacy and community development through business skills training and micro loan programs, both saw immense growth this year. In monitoring and evaluating the growth of both programs, we discovered that the girls in the Be That Girl Program who had a mother or primary caregiver in a Women’s Empowerment Club were scoring higher in both academic and personal measurements, and the women in the Empowerment Clubs who had daughters in the Be That Girl program, were scoring higher in both personal development and business success measurements. These girls and their mothers/caregivers who have an opportunity to gain education, develop business skills, and pursue their dreams are an inspiration and encouragement to one another! We continue to see that while empowerment and educational success are intertwined for an individual, that same individual has the ability to empower their community—multiplying the reach of these programs.
Mother Teresa said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.” As I think of the women and children we have the privilege to serve, I am filled with immense gratitude toward our community of givers who are committed to bettering the lives of others.
We have set a goal to increase the number of monthly donors by 25% before the end of the year. A generous donor has offered to match all new monthly donations given to Mothers Without Borders through the end of the year up to $50,000. I invite you to look at what is possible for you to help us reach our goal, either by becoming a monthly donor at the level that is best for you. Or, if you are already giving monthly, (a beloved member of The Carol Zulu Club!), consider increasing your monthly gift by the amount that is right for you.
Through monthly giving, you offer those we serve the security of knowing we are committed to them for the long-haul. We are more dedicated than ever to increasing the number of vulnerable communities, families, women, and children we can serve in 2022 and beyond. We cannot succeed without you, and we hope you know your role in this effort is valued, appreciated, and held in the highest regard.
Since 1989, when the first group of charitable supporters stepped forward to help me offer food, blankets, clothing, and love to the vulnerable children in Tijuana, Mexico—many more have stepped forward to help tens of thousands of the most vulnerable women, men, and children throughout the world. Thank you for helping us continue this tradition.
From the bottom of my heart I am profoundly grateful and aware of every face, every story, and every generous heart that has been a sacred part of this beautiful and difficult work. May your holiday season be blessed with peace, unity, love, and abundance.
Founder & CEO