In every culture, a mother's heart and prayer are for her children, for them to grow up happy and healthy. After meeting mothers around the world whose children are not healthy, Carla Hillard was moved to use her voice for change.
This Mother’s Day, what if you could be an answer to a mother’s prayer?
In every culture, a mother's heart is for her children. We are all the same.
A mother wants her child to be healthy, happy, growing, and learning — to go far and beyond what she herself has accomplished. Her joy comes from watching her child grow up.
After meeting so many moms in Zambia, Swaziland, Kenya, and Bangladesh, I have seen their hard work: walking for miles to get water, living without basic healthcare, and barely surviving on a scarcity of food. I now understand how easy my life is by comparison.
Here in the United States, we worry about sending our 5-year-olds off to kindergarten with clean clothes, a new lunch box filled with organic food, and a new napping mat. In other parts of the world, parents worry about how they will provide food and water for the day or whether their children will survive the day, often because of diarrhea or malnutrition — problems that are preventable and treatable.
I think of Ann and her husband, Pastor Charles, who I met in Kenya. The couple thought they were cursed because their babies kept dying. But simple education by World Vision staff spared her life and the lives of her future children by teaching her about the heathy timing and spacing of children! This simple intervention helps women and couples make informed decisions, first about delaying pregnancy until age 18, and then timing and spacing subsequent pregnancies to secure the most positive outcomes for the mother, baby, family, and community.
World Vision's, Bible-based Channels of Hope curriculum has also been an overwhelming joy for Ann and Charles’ relationship. This program mobilizes faith leaders in communities to respond to core issues affecting their communities — such as HIV and AIDS, maternal and child health, gender equity and gender-based violence, and child protection. Now Pastor Charles uses Channels of Hope from his pulpit to help many other families through these messages!
I also think of Susan in Kenya who lost her husband to AIDS and is a mother of two. Through a U.S. government grants (USAID) program, she received the opportunity to be in a village savings group, which afforded her the opportunity to start a home-based business making portable stoves. Because of this initial loan, she could reject the practice of wife inheritance — a cultural practice where the family of the husband that dies decides which family member the woman should marry next — because now she could support herself. Her children are well-fed and educated, and she has even built a brick house to keep her family safe. Susan is a tremendous role model to all in her community and an incredible asset as she teaches her stove-making trade to others.
I have seen how communities benefit from USAID grants through programs for orphans, teaching trade and life skills, and providing education on health and nutrition. USAID grants fund the best ways for communities to be lifted out of poverty and provide a strong partner for organizations like World Vision.
After seeing the hardships with my own eyes and hearing the disparate stories, I am compelled to help and be a voice for maternal and child health.
Children 5 years old and younger die from preventable causes at the rate of 16,000 a day. A fact that is totally unacceptable and incomprehensible. We have the knowledge, tools, and resources to help these children and families — what is stopping us?
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." —Ephesians 2:10.
What if the good works that God calls us to do means extending support, education, clean water, health care — giving life — to those around the world who live without this support? What if it means providing for the ones that are simply born without because they happen to be born in a developing country?
What if I am an answer to a prayer? What if you are?
Carla Hillard is a wife, a mother of six children ranging from ages nine to 29 – two of whom were adopted from China, and a grandmother-to-be. Carla is a World Vision National Leadership Council (NLC) member and serves on the NLC Advisory Council. She also co-chairs the child protection sector for World Vision’s new Every Last One campaign, and is an advocate for those in need. She is a passionate believer in Jesus Christ and lives with her husband and their two youngest children in South Dakota.
Today, you can be an answer to prayer for mothers and children around the world by raising your voice in support of U.S. foreign assistance (USAID). In the last 25 years, infant and child deaths have been cut in half thanks in part to U.S. foreign assistance programs helping moms and kids, but now the U.S. foreign assistance budget is being cut 31 percent even though it was already less than 1 percent of the U.S. budget before proposed cuts. Take a moment to use World Vision's easy form to email your members of Congress in support of U.S. foreign assistance today to help save moms and kids around the globe.