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As a people-first company, we are honored to donate 1% of our revenue to mothers2mothers (m2m) as a part of our Giving Back initiative. This international nonprofit organization is dedicated to ending HIV/AIDS and improving both health and opportunity for vulnerable women and families across sub-Saharan Africa.

A vulnerable population

As a volunteer obstetrician/gynecologist in Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Mitch Besser faced significant cultural barriers. “Coming from the States, as a man from another culture, who’s never been pregnant or HIV-positive, how do I connect with people who don’t speak my language? Especially when I don’t really understand the context of the lives they’re living,” he asks. 

The HIV epidemic was in full stride in 2001 in Cape Town. African mothers and their children were hit hard by the crisis. Misinformation was rife, and stigma surrounded their diagnoses. Pregnant African women lacked the necessary resources to treat their HIV and prevent transmission to their children.

Dr. Besser saw a solution that was remarkably simple, yet equally visionary. He was struggling to connect with his patients in a meaningful way. His translator was a mother living with HIV herself. She was able to reassure and support women to return to the health center for lifesaving treatment. He asked himself, what if he enlisted previous patients as mentors to guide other women through these experiences? He received a grant, and mothers2mothers was born.

Meaningful connections, meaningful healthcare

A group of children gather around a Mother Mentor
Photo provided by mothers2mothers

Today, m2m has 544 locations spread across ten African nations. Their services have helped over 15 million people. They have virtually eliminated the transmission of HIV from enrolled mothers to their children for eight consecutive years.

Since their founding, m2m has employed nearly 12,000 women living with HIV as Community Health Workers, known as ‘Mother Mentors’. Working at healthcare facilities or going door-to-door, these women deliver integrated primary healthcare services to families. In this way, they can ensure everyone, everywhere has access to the care they need.

In addition to preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, Mother Mentors also provide reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health services. They also tackle tuberculosis, malaria, cervical cancer, and other non-communicable diseases. Many of these frequently occur alongside HIV in settings of marginalization and poverty.

We are proud to help m2m reach the Global Goal of ending HIV/AIDS and improving health and wellbeing for all by 2030. Thank you, m2m, for your work. 

Do you know of a medical nonprofit that could benefit from our Giving Back program? Let us know in the comments!

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Terri Phillips

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