The origins of Mother’s Day are said to stem from ancient Greek and Roman festivals, held to honour the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Traditions have evolved through many faiths and across many societies.

In the US, Mother’s Day was cemented as a commemorative day by social activist Anna Jarvis who aimed to honour motherhood and the endeavour of women. She established Mothers’ Day Work Clubs to assist and educate women on how to care for their children. Women’s suffrage activist and pioneer Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870, urging women around the world to unite for peace a sentiment echoed daily in many of South Africa’s most desperate and troubled townships.

This year, use the occasion to honour not only the mother figures in your life, but to preserve South Africa’s social activism legacy by assisting mil lions of other mothers who need help. Show your appreciation by supporting good causes, while paying it forward to those who may ordinarily have few reasons to celebrate


Access to breast cancer education and support is vital to all mothers and women across the country. Cancer impacts the lives of millions of South Africans daily, regardless of their socio economic situation. How ever, the availability of detection and treatment facilities in disadvantaged communities is minimal. PinkDrive has been working tirelessly to change this by powering South Africa’s first mobile mammography unit and educational unit, which prioritises and assists residents living in rural, town ship and semi urban areas. Spreading the message that “early protection will help prolong a life”, PinkDrive has carried out tens of thousands of mammograms and educates hundreds of thousands of women on breast health. See www.pinkdrive.co.za.

Newborns Groote Schuur Trust

Many babies are born prematurely and require specialist care and attention. Newborns Groote Schuur Trust is committed to improving the lives of newborn babies and their families This high level of care has been instrumental in increasing survival rates among premature, low birth weight and critically ill newborns. Also spear headed by the trust is Mom’s Own Milk on the Move MoM Project a first of its kind in South Africa that sees mothers’ breast milk delivered from drop off points at clinics in Mitchells Plain, Gugulethu and Han over Park to newborn and premature babies at Groote Schuur. The project assists mothers unable to visit on daily basis. See www.newborns.org.za.


The organisation has played a significant role in reducing mother child transmission of HIV, having aided over 50 000 HIV positive women and nearly 28 000 infants with direct service delivery and technical assistance. Since 2017, m2m and its partners served one in six of the world’s HIV positive pregnant women and contributed to the virtual elimination of mother to child transmission four years in a row. It employs 3 000 HIV positive women while providing career opportunities for such women who are often marginalised in terms of employment. See www.m2m. org

Ikamva Labantu

For more than 50 years, Ikamva Labantu has been providing care and support through numerous social upliftment objectives. The NPO assists with early childhood development and youth enrichment, family services programmes encompassing psycho social support, health and community relations, and seniors’ clubs in impoverished parts. This Mother’s Day, Ikamva Labantu is inviting you to spare a thought for the more than 1 000 senior citizens it supports and donate to this worthy cause. Discover more exciting ways to help by checking out https: ikamva.org.za

Smile Foundation

Formed 18 years ago at the request of Nelson Mandela, the Smile Foundation is an NPO that has helped more than 2 000 children with facial medical conditions. The foundation works with academic hospitals across the county to provide access to a variety of facial reconstructive surgery and related treatments for children from underprivileged background. See www. smilefoundationsa.org

All these causes can be supported through Relate bracelets. See Relate.org.za

This article was first published by Sunday Weekend Argus on the 12th May 2019.