Mother’s Day is a special day to honour and appreciate all the hard work and sacrifices that mothers make for their children. However, being a mother is not easy, especially for those living in parts of the world where child marriage and lack of education are prevalent.

Child marriage and lack of education continue to pose serious health risks for pregnant women in Niger. This West African country has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with 76% of girls married before the age of 18.                         

With such early marriages, young girls are often forced to bear children before their bodies are fully developed. As a result, many face complications during childbirth, leading to tragic outcomes for both the mothers and babies.

One of the most severe complications of childbirth in Niger is the occurrence of fistulas. Fistulas are holes that form between the vagina and the bladder or rectum, causing urine or faeces to leak through the vagina. Women with fistulas often experience severe infections, pain, and social isolation. They are also stigmatised and rejected by their loved ones and community due to their condition, leaving them feeling unloved and unworthy.

However, hope is not lost for these women. Samaritan’s Purse partners with the Danja Health Centre in Niger to provide surgical treatment for fistulas, giving these women a chance to restore their physical and emotional well-being. Moreover, the centre provides vocational training, giving them valuable skills to support themselves and their families. The centre also shows these women the love of God by providing spiritual support, helping women to heal from the emotional scars of rejection and isolation.

This Mother’s Day, let us honour and appreciate all mothers, especially those who are struggling with difficult circumstances like those in Niger, Columbia, Cambodia and more. Let us remember that every mother deserves access to quality healthcare, education, and vocational opportunities to thrive and raise healthy families. Together, we can make a difference and provide hope to these women and their communities.