Mothers feed us when we're hungry. Care for us when we're sick. Shelter us from the cold. And love us unconditionally. An enormous responsibility in the best of times. Now imagine caring for children in a war zone or disaster. With no food to feed them. No access to health care. And nothing more than a tent to keep them safe. This is the nightmarish reality for too many mothers around the world.
War and natural disaster often hit women the hardest. With fewer resources to start out with, they tend to lack any safety net when crisis strikes. And in the chaos, they become targets for violence. But through it all, they do whatever they must to protect their children.
They are the first-responders who survey the needs of their families and communities. They build makeshift shelters when their families are left homeless. And they take care of their sick or injured children when they can't find doctors. Mothers are the backbones of families and communities, especially after crisis.
Mothers do so much for us. And we must be there for them. That's why MADRE stands with mothers around the globe living in some of the toughest conditions:
In Syria and surrounding refugee communities, women and girls are targets for sexual violence. We're delivering emergency aid, including medical supplies, reproductive health services and trauma counseling. We're also providing solar lanterns to help prevent nighttime attacks against women and their daughters.
In the Philippines, where the recent typhoon devastated entire communities, we've delivered lifesaving aid, including rice, beans, water, medical supplies and shelter kits, through local women's groups, ensuring that aid made it into the hands of mothers and families most in need.
In Iraq, where mothers are left to care for their children who were born disabled after exposure to US military toxic waste, we are delivering vital health care to help these families survive and heal.
Too often, aid relief efforts overlook a crucial truth: when women's needs are met, community needs are met. After all, it's women who often know how to best reach the mother who just had a baby or the elderly grandmother too weak to queue for food.
That's why wherever MADRE works to respond to war and disaster, we're sure to distribute aid through local women's groups who know how to reach the most vulnerable among them, including mothers and their children.
To learn how you can support mothers living in some of the world's toughest places,click here.