I am an ordinary full-time mother of three – a daughter just beginning high school, another daughter in the sixth grade and a son in third. I spend most of my time doing laundry, in the carpool line, supervising homework, and begging the kiddos to get their rooms picked up. I love my job.
But something happened to me several years ago. Bono, lead singer of U2, came through my hometown. He wasn’t singing with his band; rather he was raising awareness about a mounting crisis in sub-Saharan Africa: the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Back in 2002, not many news programs were talking about the fact that 8,000 Africans were dying every day from a disease that is entirely preventable – let alone, mentioning these stunning facts:
More than one billion people live on less than $1.25 dollars a day. Every year an estimated 358,000 mothers die from complications during child birth, most of whom live in the developing world.
I learned more and more about the disparities in opportunity, education and health care between my North American suburb and places like rural Africa. I came to realize the only reason I have a healthy family and do not have to face the staggering fight against extreme poverty is because I was fortunate enough to be born in the United States.
Though my first instincts told me to pick up and move to Africa or begin working for a nonprofit on behalf of the world’s poorest, my life was already full with the responsibilities of caring for three children. What could I do given the realities of my life as a full-time, busy mom? www.one.org), a global advocacy and campaigning organization backed by more than 2 million people around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. By joining ONE, I entered the conversation. From my own home, kitchen and computer I received action alerts and articles to keep me informed.
As I got more involved, I was given opportunities to share with others. Because of my volunteer work with ONE and in the community with groups dedicated to the cause, I was invited to speak at the “Stand Up For Poverty” rally in Chicago. I can still remember standing at the podium with my kids’ smiling faces looking at me, as I urged the rally attendees to stand up in solidarity with the world’s poorest.
I became a ONE member because I believe no one should have to live in extreme poverty; I stay involved because I see that real change is possible and it is up to us to make it happen. As a result of legislation I have supported through ONE –including President Bush’s landmark PEPFAR bill – today nearly 4 million Africans have access to life-saving medication, up from just 50,000 people in 2002. Malaria deaths have been cut in half in countries across Africa in less than two years and 42 million more children are now going to school.
To tell my story and encourage others to get involved in their communities, I recently wrote a book called Global Soccer Mom: Changing the World Is Easier Than You Think. It is the story of how I learned I could make a difference in a meaningful way despite the boundaries and demands of being a full-time mom. Here are some things I suggest to moms who want to get involved
Become a ONE member at www.one.org. As a non-partisan, non-denominational advocacy group, ONE provides members with a wealth of information and easy actions to take that will help you join in the fight against extreme poverty.
Buy (RED) products: Proceeds from (RED) products go to The Global Fund To Fights AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria which has save more than XX lives in developing countries.
Become an expert: Read books, news articles, anything you can get your hands on to expand your understanding of the issues.
I am convinced more than ever, that real change starts at home. I am only one woman, with one voice, who lives in one town, and goes to one church – but all our ‘ones’ add up. I believe together – a movement of moms – we can change the world.
Shayne Moore is an author and one of the original members of ONE . She lives in Wheaton,IL with her husband and three kids.