Thank Mom for Home
I got into forced migration because of my mother. Her commitment (obsession, almost, along with my dad) to giving me a stable home growing up caused me to feel deeply for people who do not have homes and are forced to wander.
A lot of people I’ve met who work with refugees and trafficking victims have been forced migrants themselves once. I am the opposite, and my love of home and sense of belonging make me all the angrier when I see this basic need taken from someone else.
If you grew up in a loving environment, perhaps you can relate. If not, you probably know much better than I ever could how important having a home is, the sense of security and comfort it offers, and the pain when it is taken away or abused.
This Mother’s Day, consider giving a gift that will help mothers do their job well, especially those women who do not have adequate housing and the stability that comes with it – women who are the only homes their children know.
A Better Home for Refugee Mothers
Expectant refugees are at high risk of complications and death during and after the birthing process. They have limited medical resources, few educational options for their children, and very little sense of safety. If they have been relocated to a better place, the financial burdens of their new home can be debilitating. Here are some gifts that could help:
The IRC supports internally displaced and refugee women. Their Mother’s Day campaign offers birthing resources to refugee women who need medical attention in hard-to-reach places.
Save the Children has a few options for Mother’s Day Gifts, including bracelets and flowers. Proceeds go to fund individual projects as shown on their website – including a lovely bracelet for displaced women in Uganda (I’m not a mother but maybe my dog will get me one).
- Your Local Refugee Services
Most urban areas have a refugee services program, often run by Catholic or Lutheran charity groups. These local programs help refugees in your hometown as they try to learn English, get a job and become contributing members of American society.
That process is extremely difficult for refugee women in the States, who often come with multiple children and don’t have the resources for childcare, tutoring services, or to cover the cost of each child’s needs.
Consider donating financially or through children’s items for young mothers. Refugee services regularly need car seats and infant care items. Contact your local group for more info.
A Fighting Chance for Homeless Moms
Homeless mothers face discrimination from society and a lack of options to give their children a better life. They often go without proper medical care for themselves or their children. This group of overlooked women could often succeed if given the tools of addiction counseling and job skills training, with child care to help them stay accountable to their sessions. Here are some ways to help them as they mother:
This Bay area organization helps homeless women to have healthy children and more stable lifestyles.
This group from Southern California tutors homeless children, giving moms the chance to see their children grow up with opportunities and options.
- Your Local Shelter
The local shelter in your area will know better than anyone what to get to help young moms. They are most likely in constant need of children’s items.
Consider talking with them about sponsoring a family to go on an outing. For Mother’s Day, why not send a homeless mom and her kids the chance to go to a children’s museum or aquarium?
Healing for Trafficked Women
Victims of human trafficking often escape as pregnant women or young mothers without any personal belongings or family to help them. They and their children regularly need extensive medical care, counseling and support before they can re-enter society fully healed. These two organizations work with trafficked mothers directly to provide them with physical and emotional support:
Polaris Project is one of the nation’s leading abolitionist organizations. They have a running need for items to help trafficking victims who have escaped, and who are mothers or expectant mothers because of their enslavement.
Doctors at War is a group of medical professionals who provide essential care to victims of trafficking, including help for young mothers. Among other things, they give medical care to victims’ children and help with unbranding: the removal of tattoo and burn marks from the mother’s body.
Most of these options come with a way to thank your own Mom – a card with each donation, a tangible gift, a way to donate in her name, etc. Since I have a blog, I’m going to take this chance to thank my own sainted mom for that little brown box she kept out on her desk that we used to trade cards and letters when I was little. Also for cleaning up my puke. And for that one time when I went too far on April Fool’s Day and probably cost our family a lot in household damages…