Jan 23, 2017

Meet Sanelisiwe

Sanelisiwe with Ndaba Mandela
Sanelisiwe with Ndaba Mandela

Happy New Year! I hope you have enjoyed getting to know two mothers2mothers (m2m) adolescent Peer Mentors, Amanda and Lumgile, who were featured in our last two project updates. m2m recently produced a video about our adolescent programme and as a thank you for your support, we would like to share it with you

The video provides more background about the adolescent programme in KwaZulu-Natal, the epicentre of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa, and features Sanelisiwe, a former m2m client and current adolescent Peer Mentor. Sanelisiwe is 22 years old, HIV positive, and a mother of three young children.

Referring to education about sexual health and HIV, Sanelisiwe says, "in the Zulu culture, it's just so wrong to talk to your parents about such things. And the only way to fight against that is to engage with the youth..." m2m's adolescent programme does exactly that by providing adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) with someone to talk to that is closer to their age. Peer Mentors empower AGYW with information they can use to protect themselves. They teach AGYW that if they have become sexually active, they should use protection so that they won’t be faced with an early pregnancy or be infected with HIV. Peer Mentors also teach AGYW to know their worth as a woman and not let other people define it for them.

Sanelisiwe is very busy as a mother of three, Peer Mentor, and global advocate for HIV and adolescent health. On the eve of World AIDS Day last month, Sanelisiwe spoke on a panel at the STOPAIDS Conference in London. Her fellow panelist, Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, had also travelled from South Africa to advocate for adolescent sexual health.

Sanelisiwe says, "my dream is to ensure that every single young woman out there achieves their dream." Your support of m2m's adolescent programme is helping her dream is coming true.


Gwendolyn Burke

Jan 10, 2017

Happy New Year!

Last time we provided an update about mothers2mothers (m2m), I introduced you to Phumela, a former client and current Mentor Mother in Swaziland. Today I would love for you to meet Mapemphero, a client and mother of two in Malawi, and learn her story.

"If I had not met mothers2mothers, my life would have been so tough."

As we mark the passing of another year, I am sharing New Year's greetings below from Frank Beadle de Palomo, President and Chief Executive Officer of m2m.

I cannot believe we reached the end of 2016, and what a milestone it was for mothers2mothers (m2m)! 2016 marked 15 years since m2m was founded at one site in Cape Town, South Africa. Since that time, we have reached nearly 1.5 million HIV-positive mothers in sub-Saharan Africa with lifesaving education and support. I am so proud of everything that we accomplished in 2016 and how the organisation is evolving and expanding to reach more women and families, creating an HIV-free generation through a broader range of services.

Impact and scale are very important to us, and here are some of the results that made us the most proud this year:
  • 2.1%: m2m’s mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) rate at the final 18-24 month HIV test, which means, according to UNAIDS guidelines, we virtually eliminated paediatric AIDS among our clients for a second year in a row . Furthermore, our MTCT rates are significantly lower than national rates in all of the countries in which we work.
  • 1 in 4: The proportion of HIV-positive women delivering babies in countries supported by m2m who received education and support from a Mentor Mother.
  • 860,500: The number of women, infants, and family members that m2m reached. We had a 35% increase from the year before, largely due to the expansion of our family-centred, facility-to-community approach that links women, children, adolescents, and male partners to essential medical care.

In addition, we have so much more to share. Other key highlights in 2016 include the expansion of our programme into Zambia and the launch of Early Childhood Development and Adolescent Health and Youth Development initiatives to make sure that children have the opportunity to thrive and reach adolescence with the tools and knowledge necessary to make healthy choices. It is only then that the vicious cycle of pediatric AIDS will truly be broken and an HIV-free generation can become a reality. 2017 is shaping up to be equally exciting, so please stay tuned.

We could not have achieved any of this without the amazing support of our donors. To each and every one of you, I send my heartfelt gratitude. Your commitment has made it possible for m2m to reach hundreds of thousands of mothers and members of their family with critical education and support. Your support fuels our ability to create health, hope, and brighter futures for so many. Thank you!

From the entire m2m family to you and your loved ones, we send warm wishes for a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

Oct 24, 2016

Empowered Adolescents


mothers2mothers (m2m) turned 15 earlier this month (we can't believe it either!). As we move into our "adolescence" as an organisation, it's only fitting that we have evolved to fight the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic among adolescents. It's our duty to ensure HIV-exposed children thrive and grow into healthy, HIV-free adolescents and young adults with the skills and knowledge necessary to protect the next generation from HIV. Along with celebrating our fifteenth birthday, we're also celebrating you, our cherished supporters!

We are delighted to report that we reached 176,325 adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) with our services last year. That number will greatly increase this year as we continue to expand our adolescent program. In order to combat the acute rise in the rate of HIV infection among AGYW (7,000 new infections per week globally according to the 2015 UNAIDS Gap Report), m2m's adolescent program provides age-appropriate, sensitive, and empathetic support to adolescents in safe and confidential environments.

Last time we updated you, we shared Amanda's story. We hope you remember Amanda as the courageous young woman that she is. This time, we'd like to introduce you to another m2m adolescent Peer Mentor in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Lumgile is 24 years old and a mother of two.

"I think it's important for young women to have a peer to talk to because they are scared to talk to their mothers. They are freer to talk to somebody their own age.

For the girls who are HIV positive, I teach them that they should have hope that there are more years and I give them support. And for those who are HIV negative, I teach them the importance to stay negative because we want to keep the new generation AIDS free.

I had two boys when I was in school. I was so scared, confused. I thought my life is going to be a mess. Some of my clients are like me, and I tell them I have children, and you can carry on with your life. We need to achieve those dreams. If you have a baby, your life isn't over."

We hope that Lumgile's reflections on her work with m2m have touched you in some way. Thank you again for your support!


Gwendolyn Burke

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