As a son and a husband, I’ve learned that when it comes to Mother’s Day, treat it more like a birthday and all will go well.
My wife, Heidi, describes motherhood like this, “Moms do it all. We anticipate that the kids need new shoes. We’re awake at 3 a.m. when they have a fever. We come up with a creative way to get them to eat their vegetables again and again.”
But her favorite? “Nothing makes you prouder as a mom than watching your child help someone else,” she says.
So below are five Mother’s Day gift ideas — gifts that cover all the basics she gave to you. But most importantly, ones that show her you’ve learned her greatest lesson: empathy for others.
1. Reimburse her for all those sick days she powered through.
Moms are gentle steel. “Moms don’t get sick days. I’m here all week. Yep,” says Heidi. “There’s a rough side to motherhood, but it’s also empowering. I’ve had my kids barf on me. Arm wrestled an 8-month-old so I can suck out their nose so they can breathe for their nap. And I’ll tell you what makes it all worth it. Your 8-year-old brings you a rock that looks like a heart because he loves you. Those are good days.”
As for my own mom? She treated my (young) man cold like the true tragedy it was. She was a pro. I’d get my favorite breakfast of buttered strips of toast to dip in hot cocoa. Try it. It’s amazing. All the blankets and wrapped up on the couch with all the Super Nintendo screen time my eyeballs could handle. It’s good to have that one person in your life who spoils you.
But how can you ever repay a mom’s 5-star treatment? Give the gift of medicine to another in Mom’s name! She’ll think you’re extra smart (she always knew you were, but now there’s proof), because your donation will multiply five times to give other moms what they need to take care of their kids.
2. Atone for all those times you wouldn’t eat your vegetables.
As a boy, I was not a bottomless-pit eater. I grazed. I picked. My grandma said I needed to eat or else I would blow away in the wind. I would ask my mom if my snack could please, please please count as dinner. But it wouldn’t get me out of eating whatever vegetables or meat were in front of me. I had to sit there until it was done. My mom, like yours, was trying to feed me the right kind of food.
If it were up to me, all I’d have eaten were single-serving French bread microwave pizzas and giant chocolate muffins from everyone’s favorite big box store.
Everyone has their “Mom made me eat this” story. But not everyone had the same solution.
Mine was the milk trick: all the milk I could drink. And I learned that three or so big glasses could do it. I would take a big swig and then swallow my food whole, python-style. Corn was easy. Steak was okay. Green beans took skill. My mom let me, because somehow, I never choked, and it meant I was getting the healthy food I needed. She’s kind like that. She let me solve the problem in my own way. She also taught me to put mayo on my broccoli, which I’ve learned grosses a lot of people out, but I don’t care. I think it’s delicious.
So this Mother’s Day, why not show her that you finally learned that eating healthy is the way to go by donating to improve child health and nutrition? Your gift will multiply three times to help provide things like nutrition education, malnutrition interventions, and more!
3. Give a shout-out to the mama bear in your life.
My mom never lifted a car off me in my childhood, but I only think that’s because she was never given the chance. My wife has never fought a mountain lion, but she has mentioned that all she’d need is a big stick. These women are always scanning, always thinking, always aware. Moms don’t have spidey-sense, Spider-Man has mom-sense. When something’s wrong, they know it.
But they also assuage fears in gentler ways. That reassurance that everything is okay as long as you’re with her. My 11-year-old son remembers a fierce windstorm two years ago. We live next to a greenbelt with tall trees that sway more than any of us are comfortable with. He was terrified one would fall on his room. I didn’t blame him. But it was Mom who came up with the solution: sleep in our room on the floor until the storm passes. Oh, and bring your little brother, too.
Now this story isn’t groundbreaking or even unique. But my son remembers it, and that’s what’s important. Every single day your mom was doing little things to keep you safe. And if the stories are all boring, that’s good! She kept you safe!
So in honor of the car-lifting, mountain lion-fighting woman in your life, why not protect even more children for her special day? Help give other kids the worry-free childhood she gave you by donating to child protection efforts. And right now, thanks to matching grants, your gift will get multiplied four times!
4. Because it’s time to actually get her something nice.
When you’re a kid and the Mother’s Day gift is homemade, then its value is directly inverse to how ugly it is. My middle child gave my wife a ladybug frame in preschool, but the real prize was the photo. He could not have had a more glowering face. It’s classic. It’s our favorite thing (well, mine maybe) she’s ever gotten. We will keep this photo forever. It’s on our bookshelf in our bedroom, and will never get packed away. We will show it to his first girlfriend. It will go in his wedding slideshow one day.
But that was when you were a kid. As an adult, you better get her something nice. And not only nice, but meaningful. For example, if it’s a gift card, you can’t just give it to her, you have to go with her to spend it on clothes or coffee or a meal. That card represents time with you.
Here’s an even better idea: Get her something she can wear and think of you, and think of how she raised you right … because these gifts literally helped other people! Take a look at the Grace Collection, designed by Patricia Heaton — a beautiful scarf, necklace, and bracelet — all handmade by artisans in India who are thriving through fair trade businesses. The pieces are beautiful, and your mom can brag about you anytime someone compliments her.
5. She never stopped looking out for you. So look out for another in her honor.
Moms never stop being moms. There is always a porch light on. A meal waiting. An unspoken worry. They never stop wanting to take care of you. When they’re sick. Or even near the end of life, a mom’s true nature shines through. “Everything moms do is for someone else in their life,” says my wife. “The last thirty minutes that my mom’s mom was alive, she wasn’t conscious, but she was doing something with her hands. It looked like she was measuring out food. She was baking. Cooking. She was taking care of people and doing what she loved to do.”
My dad, Joe, also has this sweet story about his mom after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. “We gathered kids one weekend in Chattaroy to say goodbye when we knew she had but a few weeks left and was still able to speak and be reasonably comfortable,” he writes. “We had a great time together, all of us, no tears, just a lot of fun remembering and storytelling. As I headed out the door for the airport after saying my goodbyes, I heard her say to Dad, ‘Be sure to write Joey a check for his airfare.’ The last words I heard her say in person, and she was still being a mom, making sure I was okay. That was Mom. She died at home on April 19, 1996, at the age of 87. … The Lord was indeed her light and her salvation.”
For Mother’s Day, remember your mom and how she never stops caring for you and loving you — no matter what you need — with a donation to the where most needed fund. Give in her name to help another with whatever is most pressing, a gift that lets someone know that they are loved no matter what.
The post Top 5 Mother’s Day gift ideas that may surprise you appeared first on World Vision.
Actress Patricia Heaton considered a career in missions before her acting career took off. But God’s plan for her isn’t over!
Patricia shares about her recent trip to Rwanda to visit children like Delphin who are in desperate need of clean water.
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When I first moved to California from New York around 1990, I wasn’t getting many acting auditions. So, one of the first things I did was go to Mexico to help out in an orphanage outside of Tijuana. We spent a weekend repairing a sewage system, laying down a lawn, and throwing a party for the kids there.
Before that time, I’d been completely focused on acting and success, but after spending time at the orphanage, I came back completely changed.
Now I saw two doors that God might potentially open to me — acting and the love I had for that, but also serving the children at the orphanage. I asked God to make it apparent which door he wanted me to walk through by closing off either acting or missionary work.
The acting auditions kept coming, and so I walked through that door, leaving behind the call to the mission field — or so I thought.
Clean water for all in Rwanda
This February, I went to Rwanda with World Vision to see some of their water work. In fact, World Vision and the Rwandan government have partnered on a goal to have clean water accessible to all Rwandans by 2024.
That’s good news because I met a little boy named Delphin there. He’s 11 years old, but honestly, I thought he was about 6 or 7. He’s stunted by malnutrition and bouts of diarrhea brought on by drinking dirty water.
The toll of dirty water
Delphin lives with his elderly grandmother. Because of her age, she relies on him to be her hands and feet. I could tell he feels the weight of that responsibility because he was so serious. A child deserves a childhood.
One of his chores is to get water for himself and his grandmother. But the water he has access to is dirty. In fact, it’s so dirty that one time it left him with such bad diarrhea that it nearly killed him.
When Delphin is sick, he can’t help his grandmother. Even when he’s well, he often misses school because of the time it takes to walk to the water source. That’s led to him repeating the same grade.
Dramatic change on the way
Soon, life is going to change dramatically for Delphin. His community is scheduled to get clean water this year! That will mean a lot of positive changes. He’ll be able to get to school on time. He won’t get sick from the dirty water and can attend school regularly. It might even give him time to play — to have a childhood. Multiply that by all the children in the community, and you can see the impact.
On my trip to Rwanda, I realized that God, in his goodness, hadn’t asked me to choose between those two doors. He’d opened the missionary door after all. He allowed me to have my acting career, which I love, but also to use it to help people.
I feel blessed to have gotten to see World Vision’s work in Rwanda — especially the water work. That’s why I’m thrilled to be bringing my fellow cast mates from The Middle together for a mini reunion on May 4! We’re hosting a 6K for Water in LA that you can join virtually and walk with us anywhere you are. Click here to join our team or donate to our goal of raising $50,000 for clean water!
Six kilometers is the average distance women and children walk for water that isn’t safe to drink. On May 4, tens of thousands of people will come together around the cause of bringing clean water to children just like Delphin. Every step we take is one they won’t have to! Sign up your whole family for the #6KforWater today.
The post Patricia Heaton’s mission for clean water in Rwanda appeared first on World Vision.
By Zorana Knezevic, Research Project Assistant
The Kafala labor-sponsorship system in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman) has been notorious for facilitating the exploitation and abuse of migrant labor workers that come to the GCC countries, especially that of migrant construction workers and migrant domestic workers. Accounts of withholding pay, debt bondage, physical and psychological abuse, and squalid living conditions, have been the norm rather than the exception. This is largely because the Kafala system places the power of the migrant worker’s work visa and residence permit into the hands of the migrant worker’s employer, a citizen themselves who takes the role of a sponsor or kafil (also spelled kafeel).
Asymmetrical Power Relation
The Kafala system creates an asymmetrical power relation, as the Kafil has control over the work visa or residence permit. For example, if the Kafil neglects to renew the work visa on time, the migrant worker can be at risk for arrest or deportation. Even worse, the Kafil may demand the migrant worker repay him for the permits and migration process, charging the migrant worker exorbitant fees for that, leading to debt bondage. The Kafil may abuse the migrant worker and withhold pay, threatening them with revocation of the permits and therefore, arrest or deportation. The Kafala system makes the migrant worker’s legal status dependent on the Kafil, allowing them a wide scope of discretionary power and potential for abuse. The Kafala system that enables this exploitation of migrant workers must be reformed, accompanied by greater law enforcement to identify and prevent exploitation.
Barriers to Seeking Help
Factors that make it difficult for the migrant worker to seek help are often a lack of fluency in Arabic, a lack of access to information, and preferential treatment of Gulf citizens in the Gulf countries. Contracts the migrant workers receive at recruitment agencies in their home countries are often not the same as the contracts they receive in destination countries upon arrival. Due to a lack of fluency in Arabic, they often cannot read the contracts and understand the terms. Many of the migrant construction workers and migrant domestic workers come from impoverished backgrounds with a lack of education, also posing a barrier to accessing information and understanding the contract terms.
There are some labor laws to protect workers across the Gulf states, but they are not well reinforced and kafils can sometimes influence laws. For example, in 2009 the Bahraini government passed a law to allow workers to change their employer/kafil without the kafil’s consent after a notice period set in the contract; but then in 2011, kafil resistance resulted in a required extension of the time period to at least a full year before the workers can change employers freely. When attempting to go to the police or authorities in the Gulf states to report what has been happening to them, the Gulf states’ authorities often ignore or dismiss the migrant worker’s claims and automatically believe the employer-sponsor because they are a citizen. The migrant worker’s lack of Arabic and isolation can also prevent them from being able to report abuse or receive help. For these reasons, greater access to information, improved enforcement of laws in the Gulf states, and reform of the Kafala system, are crucial.
The Plight of Migrant Domestic Workers
Migrant domestic workers are especially a vulnerable group because they usually do not have a contract and can be extremely isolated in the Kafil’s home. For example, they may sleep on the floor or in the hallways, and often they are not allowed to contact family and friends from back home. This isolation hinders access to information, which emphasizes the need for pre-departure trainings in the host countries to instruct domestic workers on how to identify an exploitative labor situation and how to find help if they find themselves in it. A disturbing aspect is how migrant workers are treated as commodities. Migrant domestic workers are often sought through ads that read “Looking for an obedient, elegant maid from the Philippines!” or “offering servants from Asian nationalities for best prices!”. This demonstrates an extreme dehumanization of migrant domestic workers, offering them as commodities that come in a variety of nationalities and attributes to be bought and traded.
Sometimes workers do manage to run-away. In fact, sometimes they even become freelance workers and can rent their own apartment, regaining control over their finances and mobility. Most commonly, they work as freelance domestic workers. However, once they runaway or begin freelancing, they lose their legal status and are at risk of arrest or deportation if discovered. Migrant workers are also especially subject to police checks in public, leading to opportunities for discovery at almost any time. Due to the Kafala system in the Gulf, law enforcement disproportionately enforce deportation laws over migrant protection laws, demonstrating a need for reform and improvements to law enforcement.
In conclusion, the Kafala labor-sponsorship system is an oppressive system found in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, in which the Kafil (an employer-sponsor) has control over the migrant workers’ work visa, residence permit, and contract. Some progressive labor laws have come in place recently, such as outlawing the confiscation of passports and a legally mandated 3-month probationary period, in most of the GCC countries, in which the migrant worker or Kafil can terminate the contract agreement if they are not satisfied within the first three months. However, passport confiscations still often occur, and most migrant workers are not aware of the 3-month probation law. Consequently, there needs to be improved law enforcement, greater access to information for the migrant workers, and ultimately, overall reform of the Kafala system in the Gulf states.
Edited by Cecily Bacon, Director of Research and Projects
Photo Credit: flickr
About the Human Trafficking Center
The Human Trafficking Center, housed in the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, is the only two-year, graduate-level, professional-training degree in human trafficking in the United States. One way graduate students contribute to the study of human trafficking is by publishing research-based blogs. The HTC was founded in 2002 to apply sound research and reliable methodology to the field of human trafficking research and advocacy.
Founded in 1964, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is one of the world’s leading schools for the study of international relations. The School offers degree programs in international affairs and is named in honor of its founder and first dean, Josef Korbel.
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Even though you may be on vacation, want to keep your mind from taking one? Here are some of our favorite books and movies to grow your faith, inspire your family, and expand your worldview this summer.
- The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction by Adam S. McHugh
- The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home by Russell Moore
- Don’t Settle for Safe: Embracing the Uncomfortable and Becoming Unstoppable by Sarah Jakes Roberts
Challenge my faith
- Holy Is the Day: Living in the Gift of the Present by Carolyn Weber
- The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith
- White Picket Fences: Turning Toward Love in a World Divided by Privilege by Amy Julia Becker / The reality of privilege is uncomfortable but needs to be talked about.
- Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Croke
- No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert / What happens when a poor school district merges with a wealthier one?
- Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse / A challenging story centered around race and class in 1960s Alabama.
The Delusion by Laura Gallier / A suspenseful story that shows the reality of spiritual warfare.
Summer in the Forest (Not Rated) / Four men beat the system and forge a friendship among the trees.
Build my faith
I Can Only Imagine (PG) / The story of MercyMe’s lead singer, Bart Millard, and how he came to write his powerful song that brings ultimate hope and forgiveness.
The Case for Christ (PG) / How does an atheist become a Christian? Lee Strobel’s story answers that question.
Inspire my family
Wonder (PG) / A boy with facial differences enters a mainstream school.
All Saints (PG) / A man decides to trade in his sales career to become a pastor.
Want more ideas?
To most people in developed countries, malaria seems like a relic of the past. After all, the transmission of the disease was eliminated in the U.S. nearly 70 years ago. However, the deadly, mosquito-borne disease is still a global scourge.
Nearly half of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — is at risk of contracting malaria. Each year, there are around 200 million cases, and about half a million people die. Children younger than 5 accounted for 61 percent of malaria deaths in 2017. They are most likely to catch the disease and to die.
Now that people know how to prevent, diagnose, and cure malaria, progress is being made against the disease. Effective insecticide-treated bed nets, spraying insecticides, antimalarial medications, and quick diagnoses and treatments make a big difference. Globally, malaria mortality rates have dropped by 60 percent since 2000.
World Malaria Day is observed each year on April 25. It serves as a reminder of the worldwide effort required to end the spread of this killer disease.
Malaria disproportionately affects the poor, who often live in substandard housing near mosquito breeding grounds and lack access to health services. Children younger than 5 years old, pregnant women, and people living with HIV and AIDS are more susceptible to malaria because of compromised or immature immune systems.
Milestones in the fight against malaria
1880s to 1890s — The parasite that causes malaria is identified and traced to mosquito transmission.
Early 1900s — Spraying insecticides proves effective in reducing the incidence of malaria and yellow fever during construction of the Panama Canal and the U.S. occupation of Cuba.
1930s to 1950s — Federal spraying programs associated with the Public Health Service and Communicable Disease Center, later called the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), eliminate malaria transmission in the U.S.
1955 to 1970s — Attempts to eliminate malaria in other countries have more or less success depending on local conditions, the strength of the national health system, conditions of climate and development, and the capacity for carrying out controls.
2006 — U.S. President George W. Bush’s malaria initiative commits $1.2 billion to fight the disease in 15 countries.
2015 — A landmark 1 billion bed nets have been distributed in Africa since 2000. The global incidence of malaria has been reduced by 37 percent and death rates by 60 percent since 2000, achieving Millennium Development Goal targets.
2016 — Global efforts are reported to have saved 6.8 million lives and prevented 1 billion cases since 2000.
2017 — The U.S. malaria initiative expands to 24 countries and more than 90 million people in West and Central Africa.
Present to 2030 — Global malaria strategy and targets by the World Health Organization aim for a 90 percent case reduction by 2030. About 219 million cases of malaria were reported in 2017, 2 million more than in 2016. Ninety-two percent of malaria cases and 93 percent of malaria deaths occurred in Africa.
FAQs: What you need to know about malaria
Explore frequently asked questions about malaria, and learn how you can help children and families at risk.
- What is malaria?
- What are the symptoms of malaria?
- Why is malaria especially dangerous for infants and young children?
- What can be done to prevent malaria?
- Is there a malaria vaccine?
- How can I help people at risk of malaria?
- What is World Vision doing to combat malaria?
What is malaria?
Malaria is a serious, sometimes deadly, blood disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite. It is transmitted to a person through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. The mosquito must have acquired the parasite by previously biting a person who carries the parasite in their blood. The parasites multiply in the infected person’s liver before ultimately infecting and destroying red blood cells.
What are the symptoms of malaria?
People with malaria typically have high fevers, flu-like symptoms, and chills; they may also have a headache and be vomiting. Symptoms usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
If not treated, malaria can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. Pregnant women are at higher risk of dying from complications of severe malaria.
Some of the signs of a severe case include very pale skin, indicating anemia; severe vomiting; and convulsions. Severe malaria is more common in children.
Why is malaria especially dangerous for infants and young children?
During pregnancy, an infection in the mother can cause low birth weight and result in infant death. In areas where malaria is common, the newborn will get some immunity from its mother at birth. However, this is almost gone by the time the infant reaches three months of age.
Children younger than 5 are among the most vulnerable to malaria. Where the disease is very common, people become partly immune during childhood. In these places, the majority of the malaria illnesses — and the majority of the serious cases that lead to death — occur in young children before they have developed immunity.
Children with malaria are also more likely to be anemic — lacking enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to tissues throughout their bodies. Left untreated, anemia can result in death.
What can be done to prevent malaria?
In countries where malaria is endemic — meaning it occurs regularly — there are known ways to prevent the disease:
- Sleeping under long-lasting insecticidal bed nets protects against mosquito bites that spread malaria
- Taking antimalarial medications can prevent infections in pregnant women that could endanger their lives and their unborn children
- Cleaning up standing water around dwellings eliminates places for mosquitoes to breed
- Indoor spraying with an insecticide kills mosquitoes and rapidly reduces transmission
- Early diagnosis and prompt treatment with antimalarial medications can prevent a mild case of malaria from becoming severe and deadly
Is there a malaria vaccine?
Drug trials are underway for malaria vaccines, but there is not currently a vaccine. The parasite that causes malaria has a very complicated life cycle, and it has so far not been possible to make an effective vaccine against it.
However, there are antimalarial drugs that kill the parasites when they enter the liver or red blood cells. Along with insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and other preventives, they can help to protect against malaria.
How can I help people at risk of malaria?
World Vision has made the fight against malaria a top priority because we refuse to accept its impact on the poorest children — especially when simple, life-saving measures are at hand. Please join us in our efforts to prevent this deadly disease. And please pray for the children and families suffering from its effects.
- Pray: Holy Spirit, we see Your hand in the work to end malaria. Lift the spirits of all individuals who devote themselves to this effort, and help their work to achieve even greater results. Be with those who are ill, and help them make a full recovery.
- Give: Help provide life-saving interventions like insecticide-treated bed nets, medical care, prevention education, and more.
- Contact Congress and urge them to continue to support the Global Fund, which is up for replenishment in 2019.
- Sponsor a child: World Vision’s sponsorship program helps whole communities fight malaria with effective prevention and treatment, especially for vulnerable mothers and children.
What is World Vision doing to combat malaria?
World Vision operates in nearly 100 countries, 51 of which have ongoing malaria transmission. As a child-focused organization, World Vision has many years of experience implementing malaria interventions at the community level, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, including the distribution of long-lasting insecticidal bed nets.
World Vision has partnered with the Global Fund since 2004, bringing prevention and treatment for HIV and AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. In 2018, World Vision was awarded $121 million in grant funding from the Global Fund to fight malaria in Malawi, Mozambique, Central African Republic, Thailand, Kenya, and Angola.
Prevention and treatment
- Providing families with insecticide-treated bednets and information on how to use them
- Indoor residual spraying of insecticides
- Installing water, sanitation, and hygiene programs that help eliminate mosquito breeding grounds
- Integrated Community Case Management, a strategy to train, support, and supply community health workers to diagnose and treat illnesses, specifically pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria, in children whose families find it difficult to access health facilities
- Strengthening national health systems to make sure families have access to diagnosis, treatment, and care
Information and education
- Training on how to properly use and care for bed nets
- Training for healthcare staff on care and case management
- Promoting awareness and support for eradication among local, national, and international groups