We see them all the time when we work in polluted hotspots where, really, no one should be living.
We see them going about their daily, often back-breaking work, many times with children in tow.
These women are often too busy taking care of daily necessities to do anything else, let alone worry about their contaminated communities.
But these women are often the key to change. Once they realize their children are being poisoned, they are usually the ones who are the most eager to learn what they can do to keep their families safe, and to lead by example.
Below are some amazing stories of moms around the world:
Mrs. Mungun, who turned to artisanal gold mining to provide for her family after her husband died, trained to go mercury-free to protect her children.
Rosario, an artisanal potter, switched to using lead-free glazes in her workshop to keep her granddaughter safe.
Rosario in her workshop in Mexico.
In Senegal, mothers taught fellow mothers about the dangers of lead poisoning from the unsafe and informal recycling of lead-acid car batteries, so that they could avoid tragedies that mothers like Seynabou Mbengue endured.
These gold miners in Indonesia are leading the way. Not only have they trained to go mercury-free, but they’ve now established a collective that we are helping to connect with local jewelers, who will buy their mercury-free gold.
Did You Know…
... women and children in low- and middle-income countries are the most vulnerable victims of toxic pollution?
WHO reports that every year, environmental risks take the lives of 1.7 million children under 5 years.
In many communities, women are more at risk because they may be economically isolated, excluded from cooperatives or ownership positions or paid through back channels to work in their homes or backyards rather than in monitored, safer industrial environments.
And if women are affected, so are their families. Exposures to dangerous chemicals have a multigenerational impact on women, families and entire communities.
Snapshots of Moms Around The World
Residents of Hazaribagh, the tanning district of Dhaka, Bangladesh, make their way over a shaky bamboo bridge that spans an effluent canal carrying factory waste toward the Buriganga River. Photo: Larry C. Price.