Today, the second Sunday of May, many countries, including Uganda, celebrate Mother’s Day. While having its origin in the beginning of the 20th century, the subject of this day will never cease to be relevant. One can say – if Mother’s Day did not exist yet, we should have to invent it.
Mother’s day is important as a special occasion for each and every of us to honour the women who brought us to this world. It is also the occasion to express thankfulness and appreciation for them being there for us throughout many years, through joy and sorrow. Despite the conditions that sometimes may be less than favourable or easy to live in.
If the extent of Mother Day celebrations could be measurable by the number of children and youngsters as being the ‘usual suspects’ of those paying their gratitude to their mothers, then Uganda would be a leading country in celebrations. After all, 48 % of Uganda’s almost 40 mln population is under 14 years old. Just two years ago Uganda was considered as having the youngest population in the world.
Unfortunately, these statistical facts do not necessarily translate into happy stories of childhood and motherhood. In 2012, at least 12.3 % of children in Uganda were orphans. Among them, there were around 1,33 mln who have lost their father, which meant that the burden of taking care of the family in many of the cases landed on mother’s shoulders alone.
The problem of alcoholism
When JLOF Sweden visited communities in Northern Uganda, we were told many stories about what makes mother’s role for women such a difficult one. Alcoholism is one of the top burdens. Studies from the World Health Organisation and other sources show that Uganda is one of the top places in the world for per capita alcohol consumption.
Mothers from local communities were simply stating that many of them who have alcoholic spouses would prefer to be officially announced as widows – since the full task of taking care of the family lies solely on their shoulders anyways.
Finally, motherhood in Uganda still too often comes in as a result of violence against young girls. In 2013 it was announced that, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, one in every four teenage girls between 15 and 19 was found pregnant. Another study indicated that 43 % of young mothers had been “unwilling” to have sexual intercourse.
Having this all in mind, JLOF, as many other organisations, work for a vision that one day mother day celebrations in Uganda will have only positive connotations. We believe thatchange is possible, and we could achieve it even quicker with your support. Find out how you can donate to JLOF activities here.
Inspiring role models
Meanwhile, we congratulate all mothers in Uganda with Mother’s Day! Your strength and devotion inspires us, may it inspire others as well! As a great role model we take Ms Jennifer Anyek, a mother and a teacher at Archbishop Loum Primary School in Pajong village, one of the most active and determined participants of the JLOF workshop organised on 19-21 March 2015. Jennifer participated in the three-days workshop together with her baby daughter, who thus became the youngest workshop participant. We hope to see the little girl grow up an extraordinary bright woman such as her mother is, and wish all the best to Jennifer and all mothers in Pajong!