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AdvocacyMarch 8, 2013

Celebrating the Power of Women

Today, March 8, marks International Women’s Day. Recognized since the early 1900s we celebrate the achievements of incredible women from around the globe. Here at Shot@Life, I am often inspired by the actions of the strong women working tirelessly under every condition imaginable to provide children with access to global vaccines.

This past February, 28 Days of Impact reminded me just how much of a difference empowered women can make.

In Chad, Toma Mamout, a mother of seven who lost a child to polio, spends each day at a hospital and local health center vaccinating children and educating fellow mothers. Ann Lee Hussey, a Rotarian from Maine who contracted Polio at 17 months old, has been a part of over 20 different immunization trips to help eradicate polio for good. In Myanmar, the extraordinary Nilgun Aydogon, an officer with the GAVI Alliance, has planned and executed multiple vaccine deliveries in some of the world’s most difficult-to-reach places.

In Somalia, Sahra Mohomed works with UNICEF’s Child Health Days as a social mobilizer, going door-to-door speaking with mothers one-on-one, explaining the process of immunization.  WhileMiriam Lwanga, an officer with UNICEF, moved back home to Uganda after living all over the world, to help young people in her local community.

These women come from different countries and backgrounds, but they share a common goal—to create a better world. Women, and especially mothers, have a unique ability to make an impact. We have an important connection to each other and, as a community, we can help to save children’s lives. Shot@Life affirms my belief in the power of every woman; from mothers in developing countries to volunteers with our partner organizations.

This International Women’s Day, I’m thinking of all of the women who have made a difference for so many children by advocating for global vaccines, including our Shot@Life Champions.

Today, the United Nations Foundation is launching the Global Mom Relay – an online discussion by leading voices, including Anne Geddes and Randi Zuckerberg, highlighting the urgent need to improve the health of mothers and children around the world.

Anytime you share a post online or donate $5 as part of the relay, Johnson & Johnson and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match your action with a $5 donation (up to $8,000 per day for sixty days to a maximum of $500,000) to one of four initiatives that are helping women and children lead healthy and happy lives.  Now for the best part – Shot@Life is the featured initiative from April 19 until May 3. Mark your calendar!

Together, we can use our community to turn attention towards vaccines as a life-saving solution.

Thank you to all of the women involved in Shot@Life everyday; you are inspiring!

Devi R. Thomas