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mothers2mothers Winter Gala – A Night To Remember

mothers2mothers (m2m) held its biennal Winter Gala last week with the support of long-time partner Gucci, and generously hosted in the beautiful home of Ivona and Laurence Kirschel.

m2m’s CEO & President, Frank Beadle de Palomo and Emma France, Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri & m2m Spokeswoman, Colile Mashaba. Photo credit: David Benett

The evening was a celebration of m2m Mentor Mothers and how they are dramatically improving the health and wellbeing of women, children, and adolescents in their communities.

The highlight of the evening was m2m Spokeswoman Colile Mashaba from South Africa, who shared her personal story with the 150 guests in attendance. She explained how her life transformed from one of fear to one of strength and happiness: “It is a story about hope and overcoming diversity. How a normal woman like me is driving change and making a difference in her community.”  And that is exactly what Colile is doing each and every day. She works on the Children and Adolescents are My Priority programme which identifies children and young people who are living with HIV or at risk of contracting the virus, and connects them with the health services that will help them stay healthy and thrive. .

Colile found out she was living with HIV when she was just 19 years old and despite the many challenges she faced by disclosing her status, once she met m2m Mentor Mothers she received the support needed to continue her journey living with HIV. Colile found the safe space and support system that allowed her to overcome her health challenges and become a leader in her community, helping women facing similar challenges as she once did. “When I met m2m in 2009, it felt like the sun was rising on my own life. Like a new dawn. I was fascinated by this bond of sisterhood and I knew that this was something truly special that I wanted to be a part of.

Ellie Goulding with m2m Spokeswoman, Colile Mashaba. Photo credit: David Benett

m2m is grateful to award-winning actor David Tennant and comedian Arabella Weir for leading us through the evening, along with Harvey Cammel from Bonhams, who encouraged attendees to bid generously on some fabulous auction lots. The night ended with a beautiful performance from singer and songwriter Ellie Goulding who impressed the crowd with her intimate acoustic set.

Closing the special event, Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci, announced that Gucci and Chime for Change are making a three-year, £450,000 commitment to m2m to support our expansion into Ghana. We are so grateful for Gucci’s continued support.

Arabella Weir, Laurence Kirschel, m2m’s Emma France, Ivona Kirschel, David Tennant & m2m’s Colile Mashaba. Photo credit: David Benett

Funds raised at the Winter Gala will go towards supporting our work across eight sub-Saharan African countries where we train and employ women living with HIV as Mentor Mothers, community health workers who are change-makers in their communities. Since m2m began in 2001 we have created over 10,000 jobs for women living with HIV, who have in turn reached over 11 million women and children under two. The night was a tremendous success, and it was extremely special to share and celebrate the work of not only Colile, but the 1,700 Mentor Mothers who are working so incredibly hard to bring about positive change across sub-Saharan Africa. This sisterhood is changing and saving lives.

Thank you to Ivona and Laurence, Gucci, the Host Committee, Albion Parties, and everyone who came to show their support. Together we can help ensure that every woman, child, and family thrives, and not just survives.

“By contributing to our work tonight you can help more women like me find a purpose in their life, and the strength they have within—and become the financially independent, strong woman and role model I have now become. And for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.” – Colile Mashaba.

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