I was born in Morocco near the Algerian border in the small city of Oujda. It was an unassuming city, dusty and tourist free (for good reason). I was the last of six children. The location of my birth was in my oldest brother’s bedroom, which also served as our classroom – and now a maternity ward. I was born around 3.30pm, just in time for afternoon tea. The people present were my Mum and my Dad.
Knowing my birth was imminent, my father had taken my unruly siblings to the park with our visiting grandmother. My delivery was quick and problem free. So quick, in fact, that my meant-to-be midwife, an American neighbor of ours, was my first visitor. Dad rushed back to the park in our bright, beat-up orange VW van and, so the story goes, turned up triumphantly exclaiming, “It’s a boy!” Upon realization that she was still the only girl amongst her siblings, my sister cried. I have since forgiven her for that. (And clearly from the way she’s clutching me in the photo below, she got over her disappointment without much difficulty).
When I reflect on the story of my birth, I feel a certain simplicity and sacredness – just my parents and I, alone together in a small bedroom in a faraway place. I feel immensely fortunate. Fortunate that both mother and child were safe. It helped that my parents were doctors and knew what they were doing. Fortunate that I was loved and protected. I had siblings that doted on me, a father who worked hard to keep a roof over us with food on the table, and a mother who cherished and adored me.
Story vs. statistics
But why am I writing this? I’m writing this because with Mother’s Day approaching this Sunday May 13th, we want to emphasize the importance of story, especially individual story. At Jolkona it is necessary that we talk about statistics, of course. Statistics give us the overarching picture. But what fuels the fire that drives us is the story behind each statistic – the individual. This is why we give you, the philanthropist, not just the chance to change statistics, but to actually glimpse into the life of the individual behind the statistic by seeing exactly how your donation makes an impact.
Mother’s Day projects
We have over fifteen projects at Jolkona that support mothers globally by improving maternal health and reducing child mortality. One such project is run by our partner MADRE. MADRE works with groups of Palestinian and Israeli midwives to help women safely deliver their babies in the West Bank and Gaza. Your gift of $50 provides a safe birth kit containing medical supplies for delivering newborns. With $50 another statistic is reversed and a story is changed.
The story of my birth is a happy one. Sadly, though, there are so many mothers – millions globally – whose stories of motherhood are weighed down with profound uncertainty and fear, or worse, mired in tragedy and grief. Help us change that.
For Mother’s Day give the gift of impact; change one story:
- Go to our project page here
- Filter your search by selecting Improve Maternal Health or Reduce Child Mortality
- Choose a project
- See how you changed a life