Getting involved with a cause

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Getting involved with a cause

My involvement with Mothers to Mothers really began as a story that started very tragically but ended up having a very different kind of ending, sort of a happy ending. My best friend in the world, Karen, had gone in for minor surgery and was one of those statistics that didn't come out of anesthesia. And I went to Chicago to sit with her, bedside, as did her brother who had been living in South Africa, who I'd been friends for 30 years. We sat bedside and he told me about this idea he had for helping the healthcare system and helping mothers in South Africa. And I told him about what I had been doing and we sat while Karen went into a coma. And Karen had gotten me through some really tough times with my mother dying and breast cancer and then she ended up passing away. It hit me very hard and I went into a tailspin. And Mitch said some to South Africa and see what I'm doing. I said, that's ridiculous. What am I going to do in South Africa? He said, no, come and look. So I did. My husband said, go, go, cause I was kind of under the covers and I went and my first day there I went on rounds with Mitch. He was still a practicing obstetrician at the time. I met these extraodinary women that were so courageous and so full of life and so full of hope in the face of such adversity, and it was like a bucket of cold water. I called my husband that first night and said, I have to do this and we have to move to South Africa and four weeks later we had picked up the kids and the dogs and the house and moved to South Africa.

Watch Video: Getting involved with a cause by Robin Smalley, ...


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Robin Smalley

Parent with a Purpose & Co-Founder of mothers2mothers

After a successful Emmy Award-winning career as a television producer/director, Robin Smalley co-founded mothers2mothers, a Cape Town-based NGO providing education, empowerment and suppport for pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV/AIDS. m2m reaches these women with a unique approach, by employing and professionalizing lay people living with HIV (Mentor Mothers). As role models in their communities, Mentor Mothers fight stigma as valued members of prenatal care teams that have traditionally been populated by dwindling numbers of overworked and overstressed doctors and nurses. As m2m’s first executive director and current International Director, Robin has guided the organization through a period of extraordinary growth. A tiny grassroots endeavor established in 2001, m2m is now a pivotal part of the Global Plan to eliminate pediatric AIDS by 2015, operating in more than 400 sites in seven African countries and employing nearly 1,000 HIV-positive mothers. m2m has been honored at the White House, is the recipient of the Skoll Entrepreneurial Award, the Schwab Entrepreneurial Award, the Global Health Council Best Practices Award, and the Henry Kravis Leadership Award. Robin is married to architect Jeffrey Smalley and has two daughters, Hannah and Sophia. She continues to maintain membership in the Directors and Writers Guilds of America. 

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