Happy Mother’s Day! Bigger Dreams, A Mother’s Gift
On October 5, 2016 my life and the way I love changed forever. My daughter Paloma Isidora Horter entered this world with a wail and what seemed to be a knowing smirk. What she is here to teach me I do not yet know.
What I do know, is that my work has afforded me the privilege to meet mothers all over the world and it has been an honor to join their ranks. In some ways we are worlds apart and in some we are not so different after all: mothers, or mamas- as they called me in Angola long before I had Paloma- want children, families, and communities to thrive.
If given the opportunity, they will invest their spirit, time and money in a better now and better future all to the benefit of their children. When I visit savings groups in Guatemala, Kenya, or Sri Lanka I often ask members why they join, why they make the decisions they do, and where they see the value of coming together weekly and saving anywhere from $.50-$5.00 a week.
And they indulge me because the answer is obvious: savings and access to loans can mean the difference between having school fees or not; having food or not; having income or not; or being prepared for the unexpected or not. I asked one woman and was answered with a sea of nods of agreement with her story.
I think we can and should see those benefits of savings groups for what they are, forms of empowerment, financial inclusion and resilience. But, we should also see and hear the dreams mothers have for their children, or surrogate children, or grandchildren—that is, not just a better life, but also a life where there is abundance and a choice.
Do I want Paloma to be a doctor-lawyer-Olympian-adventurer-poet? Yes. But, I really just want her to have and make choices about how she works, plays, loves and lives in community with others. She is named after my mother, Isidora, who was the first woman to wear pants and ride a motorcycle in her village in Spain. She taught me to value myself, to appreciate access to education, how to love unconditionally, to pay my debts and to save for floods.
Today, on Mother’s Day I have profound gratitude for my mother and yours – because they dream bigger for us than they do for themselves.
Kellie McDaniel is the Senior Program Officer for International Programs at Episcopal Relief & Development.
Images — Top: Baby in the arms of her mother in India; Middle 1: Meet Vilma and discover more about the microfinance programs in Guatemala; Middle 2: Kellie’s daughter Paloma (left) with mom and grandma (right).