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mothers2mothers “Gets a Hug” From U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama

CAPE TOWN, 23 June 2011 – mothers2mothers’ former Site Coordinator and current Communications Associate, Nozi Samela and Co-founder and Medical Director, Dr. Mitch Besser represented mothers2mothers at a presentation for U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama at Cape Town Stadium.  Mrs. Obama is on a weeklong trip to South Africa and Botswana focusing on youth leadership, education, health and wellness.

Dr. Besser and Nozi, who first came to mothers2mothers as a client, spoke about the organization’s work helping to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV, keep mothers and babies healthy, and empowering women.
“I was talking about mothers2mothers and my personal story and dreams for the future, and she said that she admired the strength and courage.  That’s when she hugged me.  I was honored because I regard her as one of my role models because she is taking time to go to communities to see how other ladies live.” said Nozi.
After the presentation, Mrs. Obama was given a photo of U.S. President Barak Obama at a mothers2mothers site with Babalwa Mbono, a mother and Junior Trainer he met when he visited South Africa in 2006 as a U.S. Senator.  She then continued her conversation with Nozi and Dr. Besser.
“Mrs. Obama’s interest in this issue is so important at a time when we are increasingly able to speak of eliminating pediatric HIV and promoting the health and interests of women in Africa.  By shining a light on these issues she helps us maintain support for this very important work,” said Dr. Besser.
The event was attended by Mrs. Obama; her mother, Mrs. Marian Robinson; Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the South African Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, and Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille, among others.  In her presentation, Nozi Samela said, “I became living proof of the statement that says: you empower a woman, you empower the nation.”
mothers2mothers is an NGO based in Cape Town, South Africa that helps to stop children from getting HIV and keep their mothers healthy.  mothers2mothers trains, employs and pays nearly 1800 new mothers living with HIV in nine African countries[i] to provide education and support to women just like themselves. These “Mentor Mothers” become professional members of health delivery teams — working alongside doctors and nurses to serve the needs of HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers and to help fill the gaps in critically understaffed health systems.mothers2mothers currently reaches 20 percent of the pregnant women living with HIV in the world.
Contact Information:
Maya Kulycky, Global Communications Director
Tel: +27 (0) 21 466 9160
Email: [email protected]
[i]Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
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