We’re really excited to be teaming up with London’s brand new Museum of Motherhood this month to share some of their mums’ stories for our Memorable Moment of Mum activity.
The Museum of Motherhood will launch at the V & A Museum of Childhood on Thursday 21st June, along with a book – and all revenue from ticket and book sales will go to fund Proshanti, a charity supporting maternal healthcare work in Bangladesh.
Throughout this month, we'll be sharing stories from mums featured in the Museum of Motherhood. First of all, I’d like to introduce you to Lilu:
“The inspiration for founding Proshanti was my mother; she was the example I base my life on. My mum was involved with the independence war in Bangladesh; a few times they wanted to kill my mother and the rest of us, they even tried to burn our house down… so many struggles she went through! She was a very brave woman, she didn’t give any information about my brothers; she told the army that they would have to kill her before they could kill her children.
After the war, my mother started doing voluntary work in the village, one of the things she helped with was maternal healthcare, for the really poor people. She died suddenly in 1993, of a heart attack. My mum had always wanted to set up a college for women and girls, there wasn’t anything at that time; but it didn’t happen in her lifetime. When she died we decided to do something for women’s education, and we started up a college. It has 2000 students now. We wanted to do that in my mother’s name.
When I came to London I saw there were a lot of difficulties for the local Bangladeshi community; lots of women are not in education, they don’t speak very good English either, so I started doing voluntary work just like my mother. Over the last 20 years, I helped set up the Bromley by Bow Centre (BBBC). My mum would be very proud if she knew about it. I wanted to take the BBBC team to my hometown in Bangladesh. When we went to Juri, the local people found out we had a doctor and a nurse with us from the UK, and they started queuing each morning to receive treatment!
When we came back, we decided to found Proshanti. Since then, we’ve identified that the women and children are particularly vulnerable, they’re often housebound and they don’t have enough communication with others. There’s a hugely male-dominated culture in Bangladesh; sometimes it’s hidden, but it’s always there. Women don’t have much of a say, even when they are pregnant; every decision is made by men, so Proshanti focuses particularly on maternal healthcare.
I hope that people viewing the Museum of Motherhood will take away some important knowledge; I hope, too, that people will donate generously to Proshanti, to secure the future of women and children in Bangladesh.”
(By the way you should also check out the original Museum of Motherhood – no link to the London version, but it’s amazing and well worth a virtual visit).
We’ve always seen www.storyofmum.com as a big virtual ‘museum of motherhood’: your words and images coming together to shape a giant portrait of what it is to be a mother today. This month we're asking you to share your Memorable Moments of Mum with us: stories of moments from your life as a mum - big or small - sad, happy, inspiring or silly - any moment that has meant something to you - we want to hear it.
The idea of a museum for mums has also inspired this month’s Twidoodle doodling activity: Museum of Mum. Join us on 20 June 8.30pm – 9.30pm BST (other timezones here) on twitter using the hashtag #somum (If you'd like to see what a Twidoodle's all about, check out our first ever attempt).