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Mile for Mothers – small steps forward…
10. 5. 2007 05:08

…ALTERNATE TEXT…

Where are people, there are stories… Where are mothers, there are touching stories.
Let me catch some to explain the idea behind Mile for Mothers.

background
The whole story began three years ago, when some mothers in Slovak Mother Centres network thought about a special celebration of the Mothers Day. One of the ideas were to set up a new Guinness World Record in a category: “Pram-pushing – mass participation” – successfully implemented in the year 2004 (108 prams) with a repetition in 2005 and finally on 13th May 2006, where 7 more countries from Europe joined and 2015 parents walked a mile altogether from Austria, Bosnia, Czech, Germany, Italy, Slovakia and Netherlands in the first international campaign of mine network under the slogan “Move the pram, move the world”. The event had a big response both from media and public – for example, in Bosnia it was the first attempt to set up a new GWR in the history of the country.

the question, which changed everything
When presenting the campaign at GWIA in Vancouver (June 2006), Emi from Kenya gazed at me and asked: “How can you call this campaign international? We, women from Africa could never join… Because in our countries the pram is not a symbol of motherhood, but richness”.
Since that this question has been coming to my head very often – yes, the world is more and more colourful and diverse we can imagine… Actually, what can we move if we want to move the world? At first, we have to move our minds…

the answer was born!
The answer for this difficult question was born surprisingly easily at one of the workshop at international conference conducted by mine “How do we want to raise our children” in Nov.2006 in Bratislava. After two hours of fruitful discussions the decision came: we would be marching a Mile for Mothers! Regardless children are in prams, or in our arms, backs or just hands in hands. Even people without children can join – everyone who feels that motherhood is not an ordinary issue; everyone who realises that when mothers will join they can change the world – without any records.

to make the world a better place for our children
Therefore was the event Mile for Mothers included in the results of the conference – Platform of Actions. It was the last autumn – jus a half year before this year’s Mother’s Day.
What has happened since then?

when zero is not zero
This year’s Mile for Mothers is called “a zero year’s volume” – since November 2006 more than 10 countries have expressed a wish to join, but not everywhere the wish will come true this year. Eventually, the mile will be walked in 8 countries: Germany, Hungary, Jamaica, Czech republic, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and Uganda – however not everywhere on 12th May as was planned.

how is it going – stories behind…

Irene, Uganda:
Greetings from the women in Uganda more especially those from the conflict and post conflict areas where we are working. It’s a pleasure to inform you that the situation in the North is changing for the better although some of the people are still living in camps. Thanks to the Memorandum that the women signed during the international conference in Bratislava. It contributed to the numerous calls for the warring parties to negotiate peace. We look forward to a concrete peace pact and the reconstruction process of the region.
As far as the march is concerned, we are going on with the preparations for the 16th of June as I told you. These will coincide with the Day of the African child. We are arranging the march in 10 IDP (Internally Displace People's Camps). These are the largest Camps with over 15000 families each. We are going to march from the camps to the Administrative Headquarters of each area where the camp is located. We are mobilising both the fathers and the mothers and each participant will carry a child on the back the African way. We have also registered some parents with disabilities who will carry their children at the back the back of their wheel chairs. We shall keep you informed of the proceedings as we go along. We shall also send you some of the pictures of the events at the different Camps.
Well then, keep in touch and Good luck to you all.
God Bless.

Tamara, Jamaica:
I love the idea of the event Miles for mothers on Mothers day, we do have a lot in common, we all are mothers and we have to support each other and be that strong voice for our children's future.

Petra, Germany:
Germany will also participate on the better-future-for-family-event “Miles for mothers”. The Eltern-Kind-Zentrum, Stuttgart-West will organize the mile on May, the 12th. I am glad about this and I am also glad, that Guinness now confirmed our Record from 2006.

Borbala, Hungary:
The Hungarian team for organizing the event in our town, Godollo, was set up (7 mothers), a Hungarian name and slogan was invented :( Mamamerfold- Merd fol, mit jelent" : a play with words: Mile for mothers – Take the measure of it). We wrote our Hungarian mission statement and planned the route and the program.
We will start in the old city market and walk to a big meadow in a city park near the Regina House. In the park we will have live music, a picnic, games for children, a dove flight, a Gender equality game and dancing. The walkers will get a gift, a booklet of Godollo women's history guide, a topic we are researching now (where famous women in Godollo lived) by contacting the town library's local collection. We also connect this day to collecting nominations to REGINA Child Friendly Godollo Prize 2007.
We haven' found sponsors, and it is unlikely anyone of us will have the time to start fundraising now. Next year.
We are very enthusiastic and happy to have joined Mile for Mothers.

Magda, Poland:
While preparing for "Mile for Mothers" we decided to take one a bigger initiative in which we will start a discussion on to what degree our country, our cities and various public spaces are small children mothers'/parents' friendly. In cooperation with the biggest national daily we plan to publish series of articles on the subject whether there are young children mother friendly places and how it is in Poland (either we are going to cover all Poland, or start this year in Poznan and continue next year in all the country). Then throughout the week mothers will be visiting different public places such as restaurants, offices, ambulatories, drug-stores, etc. For one week the daily is going to publish articles on their experiences which we don't expect to be very optimistic, as there is a lot to do in this area in Poland. At the end, just to sum up the week, we are planning to march the Mile – which is going to take place June 2.

Galina, Russia:
We are preparing the Mile for Mothers for the 1st of June – to the International Children’s Day. Our new centre will be already reconstructed, so the end of the mile would be there. We are preparing a small concert there with various activities for children.

Simona, Czech republic:
I’m writing at the last minute – despite there are only a few active women in our Mother Centre, we have taken an advantage to join to your marvellous idea and have asked people from the western part of Czech republic – in the town Domazlice. Despite struggling with uncertainty and various problems, we are trying to do our best to keep our MC Benjamin running. We wish to all of you good luck, close souls and nice spring days.

We in Slovakia are organising Mile for Mothers in 23 cities and villages, preparing rich accompanying program for families. We have joint the event with a fundraising activity for our Mother Centres – a public financial collection by selling a special postcards, designed especially for the Mother’s Day with a simple sentence: Thanks you are a mother.

if not this year, the next for sure!

Barbara, Trinidad:
At the end of March we moved to a new space to begin to offer Mothers' Center services, so we have been packing and unpacking and we were without telephone lines for 3 weeks.
As would understand, the plans for the walk had to be put aside – it is hard to organize an event without landline services! Sorry we can't join you this year, but next year we hope to be with you!

Béatrice, Burundi:
I can not participate in this activity but I am with all in my heart.
I hope to be in the next one and I wish to all my best wishes.

Rhonda, U.S.A:
I would like to say that the NAMC is considering a national campaign for Mothers Day 2008 (next year) calling for the U.S. to add the value of unpaid care work to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) calculation. I believe we are actually the final country in the world that doesn't already do so! We would tie this effort in to the international "Mile for Mothers" next year if that will be repeated. I hope so – it would be fun to participate in the international event.

Senay, Netherlands:
…so we could not organize the miles for mothers this year. But we want to organize it for the next year. I wish all of you a good walk and we sure will join the next year!

Thanks for all your contributions and effort. Looking forward to all your “after – Mile” stories and pictures. Good luck!

Bratislava, 8th May, 2007






Elena Bakosova,
Slovak Union of Mother Centres
Coordinator of Mile for Mothers
elena@materskecentra.sk

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