After reading Nick Kristof's powerful, wonderful op ed (below), my mom wrote my sister, her three siblings and me the email below, asking us to do what he suggests: in addition to supporting the gift card, flower, jewelry and restaurant industries to show your love for your mother on Mother's Day this Sunday (don't forget!), make a donation in your mother's name to an organization helping women in developing countries.
Nick (who's one of my heroes) recommends a number of great organizations, but I'm partial to the Fistula Foundation (www.fistulafoundation.org) because I'm on the board. It supports many wonderful hospitals in 11 countries (9 in Africa, plus Afghanistan and Bangladesh), including the Edna Aden Hospital in Somaliland, which Nick writes about (see: www.fistulafoundation.org/wherewehelp/somaliland).
Here's my mom's email:
From: Susan Tilson
Sent: Friday, May 06, 2011 8:58 AM
To: 'Dana Tilson'; Whitney Tilson
Cc: 'Dave & Dorothy'; 'Chuck Harbert'; Rick Harbert; 'Dad Tilson'
Subject: Mothers' Day Gift to the Fistula Foundation
Dear Dana and Whit,
Can you skip giving me anything for Mother's Day and just donate whatever you might have spent to the Fistula Foundation? I think that Nick Kristof has a great idea going.
P.S. Whit, can you forward any donation that the family may want to give to the Fistula Foundation? Thanks.
Dear Dorf, Rick and Chuck,
If you haven't already thought of something for Mom for Mother's Day, maybe we could donate some money to the Fistula Foundation in her honor. Frankly, I don't think that she needs anything other than a phone call from us and, further, if we explain to her what we are doing, I think that she would be pleased. You may know that we supported the Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia for many years and Whit continues to be active in the US-based Fistula Foundation that helps women all over the world who have this awful condition (including the hospital in Ethiopia).
I have included below an article by Nick Kristof that explains the idea of giving to charities in developing countries for assisting mothers – repair of fistulas, maternal health, assisted birthing, etc. If you are interested, you can give the money to Whit or send it direct to the charity of your choice.
Beyond Flowers for Mom
Published: May 4, 2011