Close This  
Warning!!!

You are using very old browser. Please update your browser in order to use this website properly.

Click here to choose the download option

You can continue to use this site in this browser but will lack some functionality.

Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. Browse Happy is a way for you to find out what are the latest versions of the major browsers around. You can also learn about alternative browsers that may fit you even better than the one you are currently using.

Focusing
on a positive impact

Dear daughter, your future is your health

7
By Irene Mayile, Mentor Mother, mothers2mothers

I spend my days educating the community on how to protect their health, so they can make the most of the future ahead of them. On International Day of the Girl Child, the future ahead of our girls is particularly on my mind. I sat down to talk with my daugther, Lindokuhle, to find out her thoughts on the challenges girls face in staying healthy and how health plays into her vision for the future.

My name is Irene Mayile, and I am a Mentor Mother with mothers2mothers, a longtime partner of Johnson & Johnson. Together, this partnership aims to impact the health of mothers by putting them at the heart of improving reproductive maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health. As an HIV-positive mother, I love my role as a Mentor Mother helping other women access health services and understand how treatment can help them stay healthy and protect their child from infection. I spend my days educating the community on how to protect their health, so they can make the most of the future ahead of them. On International Day of the Girl Child, the future ahead of our girls is particularly on my mind. I have two daughters, Lindokuhle who is 17 and in her final year of high school, and Nothando who is six. Based on my own experience, I know that being healthy makes the path to adulthood and a strong livelihood far easier. With this on my mind, I do my best to educate my girls about how to protect their health so they have fewer obstacles to achieving their dreams.

A brighter future for the world is only possible if we ensure that our children are healthy and can remain healthy into adulthood, allowing them to thrive into a productive workforce that lifts communities up and improves everyone’s quality of life. Girls like my daughter Lindokuhle are eager to give back to society and become the community health workers, nurses and doctors on the front lines of care that are so needed in our communities. If we empower girls to treasure their health and create pathways for them to become skilled members of the workforce, particularly the health workforce, I have no doubt we will all benefit. 

I sat down to talk with Lindokuhle to find out her thoughts on the challenges girls face in staying healthy and how health plays into her vision for the future.

Irene: Do you and your girl friends think about your health and how it impacts other parts of your lives? 

Lindokuhle: We don’t talk a lot about health in general, but we do talk about not having children until we are ready and are working. We also talk about how being married is not an achievement and how important it is for us to finish school and become whatever we want to be. I am very lucky to have parents like you who can worry about finding the resources to keep me in school while I can worry about schoolwork and not being the awkward person in class; others are not so lucky and face harder choices that jeopardize their health. My friends and I recognize that the decisions we make today will play a big role in what our future ends up looking like. As much as possible we want to stay in positions where we can control our own health and not have someone else compromise that. 

I: What do you do to stay healthy? Do you share any of that advice with your girl friends?

L: I stay healthy by visiting the clinic for advice and services when I need it. You have always taught me not to be afraid of healthcare providers, but you have also reminded me that when I go to the clinic, I will not always meet a nurse like the one I want to be when I grow up. Sometimes, I will meet nurses who are overwhelmed and overworked and who may not give me the time or information I need. I try to not to take such things personally and remain brave enough to ask for what I need. I tell my girlfriends the same thing! Information is power and it’s on us to demand what we need.

I: What are your dreams for the future?

L: After I finish school I want to study nursing so I can teach others how to care for their own health. You have always taught me it is up to me to make my own choices in life. It doesn’t matter if other people say I cannot do it as long as I believe in myself and never stop working towards my goals, I can achieve anything I set my heart to. I say the same thing to my friends. I tell them that all we need to do is believe in ourselves and work hard, then we will achieve our dreams. Staying healthy is part of that path to getting what we want.

I: As your mother, I hope you can learn from my experiences and recognize how good health is the foundation to a good life and making your dreams come true. On International Day of the Girl Child, what would you like to say to other girls who may not realize how important their health is in reaching their dreams?

L: We all face different challenges and we sometimes feel forced to make choices that are not good for our future selves. In those situations, never get tired of asking for help from the trusted friends and adults in your life. Keep asking for help until you get exactly what you want.  

I: Anything you’d like to say to global leaders about the importance of supporting girls in leading healthy lives?

L: Global leaders, make a better effort to help girls become their own people in this world. Provide us with opportunities to create brighter futures for ourselves and our communities. We need to make it possible for every girl to access education, health care and have a place to call home. That way, we’ll create a future with strong women that will benefit everyone – male and female, young and old.

 

About Johnson & Johnson and mothers2mothers: Johnson & Johnson and mothers2mothers have partnered since 2005. Together, and through mothers2mothers’ innovative and successful Mother Mentor program, they have reached nearly 2.3million women in 2017 alone, across more than 1,000 locations in seven countries providing counseling and health services. 

 
ARCHIVE
Trust

Please fill out your details below

Subscription Options

Subscription Options

Watch how J&J secondees like Alona Perunova collaborate with our partners to strengthen the…
 
Watch this month’s 10 Years of Trust Touchpoint clip to learn how six-month secondments…