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Why I Love Mothers Without Borders, And How We Can Help Them Together


Robyn Openshaw, MSW - Oct 17, 2019 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links


Photo of African woman pointing and white woman looking from

I first met Kathy Headlee 10 years ago, when a talk she gave at BYU’s Education Week captivated my heart.

She told the story about how she first got involved in an international relief effort and realized her calling was to serve women and little ones around the globe. When I heard her talk, I cried. Something in me vibrated loose. Kathy was doing great work while being a single mom of four children for many years at the time she started Mothers Without Borders.

Now, at the age of 66, ten years later, Kathy still carries the burden of raising funds to educate and feed 500 children in Zambian villages, among other outreach efforts. She spends half her life in Africa, teaching and mentoring and building people up.

In this article:

Kathy’s Work Gave Me Perspective

When I first met Kathy, I was a newly single mother myself—in my early 40s, trying to figure out how to move forward with my four young children reeling from their parents’ divorce.

I was trying to pick up the pieces after the failure of my 20-year marriage, having to support my family by myself. When it came to the kids, my philosophy was: listen, respond, regroup, repeat.

At the same time, I’d been reflecting on the fact that I wanted to do more with my growing internet reach, beyond just educating others about how to raise healthy kids and feeding my own family.

That’s when I attended Kathy’s class. The timing was perfect.

In her class, I learned about children in Zambia who were orphaned due to the AIDS crisis. In many cases, they were averaging less than a meal per day, and the public education system was almost non-existent.

Being exposed to all this put my situation in perspective, to say the least. My family was experiencing a lot of chaos, but I knew my children weren’t in danger of going hungry or missing school.

Kathy’s choices inspired me. Just like me, Kathy had to care for her own four children, and at the same time, she was investing her heart in a village all the way across the world.

Photo of standing children smiling in a Mothers Without Boarders facility from

One of our trips to visit the Mothers Without Borders facility.

Mothers Without Borders Uses Budget Wisely

Why do I love MWB? They do great work effectively and in a budget-conscious way, and they take very, very little as overhead. Like 5 percent. That’s a shoestring budget, and most humanitarian organizations spend about 10-12 percent on overhead and salaries, including United Way and others, where the executives running the organization make six or seven figures annually. You can see all of MWB’s financial reports on their website.

If you work in the charitable or non-profit realm, society seems to expect you to give up everything. For some reason, we tolerate entrepreneurs driving expensive cars and living in big houses, but we don’t extend the same permission to humanitarians. (That’s a subject for another day, the need for America’s corporations to give because they can, because they want to, not just because they have to, via taxation.)

I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people like Kathy to be compensated fairly for the work they’re doing, no matter how our culture might judge. That said, I’ve been to Kathy’s home. She lives humbly. I know from experience that Kathy is not lining her own pocket from the contributions of donors.

GreenSmoothieGirl Readers and Fundraising for Mothers Without Borders

Over the years, I have enjoyed giving and raising money for the women and children served by Mothers Without Borders. Zambia is a place of incredible environmental and cultural beauty, and it has a reputation for political stability and tourist safety in the region. Still, Zambians face a lot of struggle. Two-thirds live in poverty, and millions can’t count on even one meal a day.

Kathy’s organization does more than feed children; it fills their bellies so their brains can think, and then it teaches them not only how to learn and read and do math, but also how to do life, expand their horizons, and come back home to help their people. I’m passionate about education in general; it’s a powerful tool to help anyone transcend their circumstances.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed organizing some really great fundraisers for Mothers Without Borders.

  • I once joined the founder of Roxberry in drinking nothing but green smoothies for a month. We used the hype around our experiment to raise $15,000 for Mothers Without Borders, helping them add classrooms to their school and double the number of students they fed and educated. I was happy to be a part of that initiative, and now the school has doubled the children it serves every day, to 500 students fed and educated.
  • I’ve donated $5 to MWB for every GreenSmoothieGirl Detox we’ve ever sold—which is thousands—and $1 for every pound our detoxers have lost and reported to us doing the 26-day program.
  • Recently, we launched our 3-day Flash Fast, and in the first month since our launch, 2,500 people have taken part. For each Flash Fast purchased, GSG passed on the funds to feed a child in Zambia for 3 days. (The idea is to give meaning to our mothers telling so many of us, “Eat your dinner! There are children starving in Africa!” I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering, as a child, how my uneaten food could be transferred to the hungry kids over there. This is how!)
Photo of crouching children smiling in a Mothers Without Boarders facility from

One of our trips to visit the Mothers Without Borders facility.

 

Flash Fast Purchases Benefit Mothers Without Borders

We are committed to feeding a child in Zambia for 3 days every single time someone purchases a Flash Fast. Many people are now on Subscribe & Save and planning to do the program quarterly, or even monthly. When they purchase their 10th kit, we send them a gift package that includes a bracelet to remind them of the contribution we made in their name to Mothers Without Borders, feeding a child for a total of 30 days at that point.

Photo of african child grinning while eating with Flash Fast donation purchase from Green Smoothie Girl

Donations to Mothers Without Borders via GreenSmoothieGirl

Recently, the tech geeks at GreenSmoothieGirl figured out how to ask each person checking out of our shopping cart if they’d like to donate to Mothers Without Borders.

In one day, 32 people donated an average of $2 each! If this trend continues, we will generate $20,000 to $30,000 for Mothers Without Borders in one year, just by asking our amazing customers, as they check out, “Hey, want to feed a child in Zambia for a week? Super easy.” I’m so excited about this change!

GreenSmoothieGirl Matches Your Donations To Mothers Without Borders

Over here at GSG, we’re so grateful. Thank you for helping us help others. My audience is generous, gracious, and other-oriented. I was so amazed to see the donations flooding in in the shopping cart, just because we asked. (GreenSmoothieGirl will MATCH these contributions, so your $5 gift to Mothers Without Borders is really $10!)

You can also give on a monthly basis here. A $30 monthly contribution feeds a child for a month, or educates her for the same period of time. Sign up for your credit card to be charged each month, and you could sponsor that child for the long term.

I want to thank you for your support and generosity. Thank you on behalf of a little girl who is in school and fed two meals a day, out of the range of sexual predators preying on the orphaned girls. This is how important and impactful the work of Mothers Without Borders is! These kids are looked after and protected by the staff at the school.

Photo of inline with white adult hand holding child african hand with donate monthly to mothers without borders text by Green Smoothie Girl

More Plans For Fundraising For Mothers Without Borders

Right now, I’m planning a fundraiser dinner party for Utah’s influencers. Carol Tuttle from Dressing Your Truth, Trevor Cates from the Spa Doctor, and mega-blogger Jill Nystul of One Good Thing By Jillee will all be there, and we’ll listen to Kathy Headlee share more about Mothers Without Borders’ mission and needs.

And coming up, in January, 2020, we are going to spend 2 weeks seeing if we can raise $100,000 for Mothers Without Borders, with your help. If you’re on my newsletter list, I’m going to take a deep breath and announce I am MATCHING all donations—and I’ll ask you to reach into your pocket. Start a change jar to save up, will you?

I’m going to ask my employees to contribute. I’m going to ask my family. I’m even going to ask my children, half of them broke college students, to dig deep and help.

My Family’s Work With Mothers Without Borders

In the summer of 2017, I sent two of my kids, Emma and Tennyson, to Zambia to help with Mothers Without Borders’ initiatives and participate in Kathy Headlee’s personal-growth classes as well.

You can see a few photos on this post of the fun Emma and Tenn had with the kids. They found the Zambian people to be the most impoverished people they’d ever met (not hard, in my children’s first-world lives, though Emma has done internships in a Thai orphanage, and we also did service in a Peruvian orphanage), and they also found them to be kind and open-hearted.

My daughter, Emma, got a business management degree and wants to run a non-profit organization benefiting children. (Do you see a fit, here, like I do?) I can’t speak for her just yet, but I see the outline of a shape, a future for the people served by Mothers Without Borders in Africa, in the alliance of Kathy Headlee and my lovely Emma Pay. Stay tuned.

I have a strong feeling that my family has a long future with this amazing Utah charity that speaks to my heart. I hope we can be part of helping carry it forward into the next generation.

Listen Next: Vibe Podcast Episode 148: Love is Medicine! A Chat With Razi Berry

Photograph of Robyn Openshaw, founder of Green Smoothie GirlRobyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

 

 

Photo of African woman pointing and white woman looking with post's title from "Why I Love Mothers Without Borders, And How We Can Help Them Together" by Green Smoothie Girl

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that help support the GSG mission without costing you extra. I recommend only companies and products that I use myself.

Posted in: Mothers Without Borders, Relationships

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