Honoring Mothers: Babalwa Mbono

Each one of us knows at least one of those special women -- the woman who may have tucked us in at night as a mother, taught us in a classroom as our teacher, given us pride in our heritage as a member of our family. This Mother's Day, May 10, FOX News wants to honor those women who have shown courage and given inspiration in every facet of their lives.

Babalwa Mbono was once a client at mothers2mothers -- an organization that gives information and assistance to new and expecting mothers diagnosed with HIV -- and then became a mentor. In this role she counselled and educated groups of women on HIV/AIDS prevention and family planning, infant feeding practices, disclosure and positive living. She moved on to be a site coordinator of her site within her community clinic. She proved to the organization that she is an incredible listener and teacher alike; Babalwa was promoted a year ago to the position of junior trainer. She currently helps train new mentors on the mothers2mothers curriculum and travels around the country sharing her experiences and knowledge with others.

FOX Fan: Define “mom” – what does that word mean to you?

Babalwa Mbono: In one’s life, one can be a mother in many ways. For me, I’m a mother in my family, in my community and at work.

Family -- A mother is the core for her family (husband, children, family members). She is a hen that will cover her chickens when there is a storm.

Communities -- People within a community are able to come in my house for help and advice, whether it be HIV/AIDS related, or if they just need advice about day to day issues. In my house they feel warmth and comfort.

At work -- In my work, I’m a mother that is presentable and humble; I am a person that everybody can communicate with, and people feel they can share their experiences with me.

FF: What has been your happiest or most fulfilling moment as a mom? Your biggest trial?

BM: The happiest moment as a mother for me was giving birth to my first born. I was so proud to have a baby and a marriage, both of which were dreams of mine from when I was a small child.

The biggest trial was being diagnosed with HIV after few years of my marriage, and also travelling abroad to the US to exchange views and information with other people. I had to quickly learn new information about HIV and PMTCT (prevention of mother-child transmission).

FF: As you already have enormous responsibility as a mom – and a mom dealing with HIV, at that -- what made you decide to dedicate yourself to mothers2mothers?

BM: I love the program and the work I am doing to make differences in other women’s lives. I have grown professionally from being an ordinary mom to a Trainer at m2m. I have also gained confidence in myself.

FF: How do you incorporate the role of mom into your work with the organization?

BM: I deal with problems as a mature woman with a mother’s heart. I advise people based on my own experiences, and in so doing offer support, understanding and hopefully help in resolving problems.

FF: The organization works with mothers non-stop, every day. What have you learned about being a mom from you work with m2m?

BM: I have learned to take things easy and try to deal with all issues as they come. Helping to resolve others’ problems by using my own experiences as examples really helps other women relate to me and understand what I am trying to convey -- in a training situation and in a private capacity.

FF: What are three values or lessons you’ve given to your children that you want them to pass on to their own?

BM: I taught my children to be independent -- that they must learn to do things on their own. I want my children to believe in what they think is right for them in their lives. I also teach them to share their experiences with people around them, so that they do not keep their feelings inside.

FF: Who are the women you looked up to – the women who inspired you to be who you are?

BM: There are many women who inspired me, but the most important woman to me is my aunt -- she is independent, confident in everything she does and means everything to her children. She is a large part of my life, and we are always in touch with each other. She plays a big part in my childrens’ lives, too. If something ever was to happen to me, she would take care of my children.

Were you touched by Babalwa's story? Write to us and give us your thoughts! Plus, click here to learn more about the mothers2mothers organization!