By Felogene Anumo
Exactly eight months ago, September 11, 2014 I was blessed with the most precious gift in this world, a lovely BABY GIRL. Today also marks International Mother’s Day, an occasion to pay tribute and offer gratitude to mothers. Even as I hold her close and cherish all the special memories created and milestones celebrated, my heart bleeds because of the world we live in. A world where systemic inequalities persist, crimes against humanity such as kidnapping of women and girls for sexual and other unlawful purposes, senseless killings and acts of terrorism are the order of the day.
My heart bleeds for the households and families for the 276 girls from the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria who will be denied this opportunity because their daughters have been missing for over three weeks with much inaction from the Government of Nigeria. The same government in the hallways at the World Economic Forum for Africa, focuses on the real positives of an “Africa Rising” but whose Africa is rising, I ask?
My heart bleeds for the children who will be denied the opportunity of the warmth of a mother’s bosom because of the untimely deaths of mothers during pregnancy and child birth. Our fallen heroines whose death is from the fact that they are the half population that are biologically predisposed to bring forth life. A world where a man’s desire can lead to a woman’s mortality. This world where approximately 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. A world so unequal that a 15-year-old girl living in sub-Saharan Africa faces about a 1 in 40 risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth during her lifetime. A girl of the same age living in Europe has a lifetime risk of 1 in 3300.
Today, I celebrate all the mothers who have died — quite literally — so that we could live. Today, I celebrate the mothers and families in Chibok who have not lost hope and await the safe return of their daughters. I join the rallying calls to #BringOurDaughtersBack and #NoWomanShouldDieGivingBirth. The struggle for a better world where every human being is valued and protected no matter the race, colour, ethnicity, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, health, gender identity or other status. Ultimately, a world that is free from discrimination and fear. I renew my commitment to work at this tirelessly until my heart bleeds no more. It is then and only then, that I will be proud to bequeath this world to my daughter’s generation.