Meet stay-at-home mom Shayne Moore. She spends her time stocking the refrigerator, supervising homework, and driving her kids to sports practices. In the midst of all that, she wrote a book called “Global Soccer Mom” that’s not about soccer at all — but about how the “soccer mom” demographic can be global thinkers.
After visiting World Vision’s headquarters to share her testimony in an all-staff chapel, I sat down to chat with her about the journey that has led her from the kitchen to the White House. Here’s what I learned…
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Was there a specific experience that prompted you to really get out of your seat and take action against poverty?
In 2002, Bono came through my hometown, but not with his band. He came with a bunch of buses, educating people about poverty and the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Although I considered myself a somewhat well-educated woman living in North America, this was really the first time that I had heard about the severity of the issue.
The presentations from the World Health Organization and the projections about the disease — that there would be 25 million AIDS orphans by the year 2010 — really broke my mother’s heart and became a springboard that helped me wake up from my own “suburbia stupor.”
My world was really small. I was focused on my babies, which was absolutely appropriate, and that’s how it should be. But, I don’t think it’s an “either/or” situation. I think it can be “both/and.” So, I just started really raising my head, looking around the world at what was happening with poverty and disease and other families just like my own. And I started educating myself and educating others.
What kind of difference can a suburban, stay-at-home mom make on such immense, global issues?
When I first learned about AIDS in Africa in 2002, there were less than 30,000 people on anti-retroviral medication. So, if you have AIDS and you’re not medicated and you’re a mom, you could die in a year, which means your children are at risk of being orphaned. But life-saving medicine can help you live for an additional 20 or even 30 years!
As a mother, that means that you are raising your family. It means we do not have an entire generation and an entire continent that is now orphaned. So, because of all these efforts of both ordinary people like myself and of world leaders, today, about 4.5 million Africans are on life-saving medication…all in a decade.
We really do make a difference when we raise our voices. With the clicks and the petitions, you might think that, “I’m not really doing much” or “By adding my name to this petition, am I really making a difference?” I’m here to tell you that it does make a difference! It really does work because of ordinary people like myself putting pressure on our churches, on our networks, on our domestic leaders, and on our global leaders.
Today, people are bombarded with appeals and messages that compete for their attention. Why should poverty and vulnerable children be a message that we care about?
You know, the number-one cause of death in the developing world for children under the age of 5 is diarrhea. As mothers in America, can we really wrap our heads around that? No! Because we go around the corner to the nearest Walgreens so we can get some Pedialite. So, it does matter. We need to care.
There’s no reason that we are who we are, that we live where we live, and that we have the blessings that we have. We need to take these things with so much gratefulness — and not feel ashamed of it, but be responsible about it. We need to come alongside women and families just like our own. It’s not OK to me — as a Christian and a woman and mother — that babies die from diarrhea.
What advice do you have for other ordinary people who desire to make a difference?
I always tell people, don’t get bogged down by the statistics and the untenable numbers. The bottom line is that poverty, preventable disease, gender-based violence, famine, and other things that are attacking our generation are ultimately affecting real people in a real place.
One thing that you can do is just start right where you are. Don’t think that you have to be a perfectionist about it. You do not hve to be a policy expert.
Just start right in your own kitchen, with your own family, with your group of friends. Plug into your church. What’s your church really doing to care for our world globally with these issues? And if it’s not doing enough, start there, start really putting pressure there! We all have our spheres of influence, and we all have our networks. We all can raise our voice.
Be an advocate! Call Congress and urge them to protect life-saving programs that combat AIDS, malaria, and hunger. The International Affairs Budget (just 1.4 percent of the total federal budget) provides critical, life-saving assistance to combat hunger, child mortality, and diseases like AIDS and malaria. Devastating and disproportionate cuts have been proposed that literally threaten lives of the poor and vulnerable. Ask your members of Congress to oppose major cuts to this account.