What I learned from my mother that I bring to my work with MMEG...

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Our mothers play a unique role in our lives. The words of wisdom and inspiration they offer us come from experience and the lucidity of perspective. To mark Mother’s Day, a few MMEG volunteers and contributors are sharing valuable lessons learned from their mothers, which they continue to hold dear, and bring to their work with Margaret McNamara Education Grants:

“My mother kept trying new recipes until she lost her sight, and never spoke unkindly about anyone. She reminds me to keep trying to stay open to new possibilities, and to watch my tongue!” -Reiko (Japan, MMEG President)

“The value of an education and a great sense of compassion…” -Brinda (India, MMEG Board member)

 “My mother always told me to listen to others and learn from their thoughts and comments. Give some kindness and you will receive some in return. She was a no nonsense person. I like to think I have followed this advice and have certainly received kindness together with interesting experiences from MMEG Board members and many candidates over the years.” -Alison (UK, MMEG Board member)

“My mother kept many sayings close to her heart and imparted them to us.  One of them was:  "Keep a green tree in your heart, and one day the singing bird will come!"  And this has brought a special spirit to my work” -Anthea (USA, MMEG Board member)

 “My mother always taught me the importance of education in acquiring true independence. An educated woman can decide more freely about her life and follow her interests and passions. Providing education grants to women, MMEG contributes to women's independence. I am very proud to be a part of this organization” -Ewelina (Poland, MMEG Fair Committee Chair)

“Honesty about yourself and towards other was the one great value she held dearly. Part of the logic was that if you do not lie you have less to remember!” -Madeleine (South Africa, MMEG Board member)

 “My mother got married at 17 and had me when she was 20, as they did in WWII.  No college for her.  When I wanted to apply to college years later, to study international relations in Washington, DC, my guidance counselors could only find Georgetown, which, at that time, was only admitting males.  With no such thing as internet, my mom mobilized and tracked down a friend [who knew] the dean of American U’s School of International Service.  Five years later, I had my AU SIS BA in hand.  What did that teach me?  Never underestimate the skills of a challenged mother.   I believe I read the applicants’ essays differently because of my experience.  I understand their struggles, and their stories about their own mothers or grandmothers or aunties fighting for them to study”   -Charlotte (USA, Selection Committee Chair)

“Growing up, my mother constantly reinforced to me that achieving brilliant grades in school and getting the best education I could was just as important for me as it was for my two brothers. In spite of the very patriarchal context in which she herself grew up, she never let me forget that as a girl I could and should excel as much as the boys around me and that it was through my education - and not someone else’s status – that I would be able to live a fulfilled life in future. This is something I firmly believe for all women” -Vesna (Ghana, MMEG Board member)

“From her experience as an immigrant to the UK, and subsequently to Brazil, I absorbed from my mother a love of learning about other cultures and languages, and the importance of welcoming strangers into mine” -Colin (UK, MMEG Board member)

“My mother taught me, through her example, the importance of always making one’s self available to all people around us” -Ana (Peru, MMEG Board member)

 “I learnt from my mother that education not only promotes social status, confidence, and independence for women but also helps us to be more efficient and creative both at work and at home” -Pelin (Turkey, MMEG Coordinator)

“The passion for education, everything is possible if you work hard - but it is more enjoyable when you learn in the process” -Ledda (Peru, MMEG Board member)

 “My mother volunteered and served on the boards of charities and institutions that existed to help women and families.  Her work for such causes as the United Way, the Visiting Nurses Association and the local hospital, inspired me through her example, to walk the walk of supporting women -- in this case to help women from around the world further their education.  She also taught me how to fold clothes beautifully--thank you Mother!! -Brigid (USA, MMEG Board member)