m2m 20th Anniversary Winter Gala
“The last 18 months have shown that we are one, big community, and that no one is safe, until we all are safe. That is why it is so important to us, to me, to make sure that families have access to life-saving health services, and support to thrive, not just thrive. So, thank you for supporting our work. With your help we will create health, hope, and an HIV-free future.”
– Limpho Nteko, m2m Spokeswoman from Lesotho
mothers2mothers’ (m2m) hosted an exciting 20th Anniversary Gala on World AIDS Day, 1st December, in London, U.K., bringing together new and long-time m2m supporters to celebrate 20 years of transformational impact and the power of female health workers like Limpho, and to raise critical funds for our work.
Presented by Gucci and CHIME FOR CHANGE, and hosted by the ADOT foundation, guests were guided through the night by newly announced m2m Ambassador Sabrina Elba, with special performances from m2m Patron Annie Lennox OBE and her daughter Lola, Paloma Faith, and the Kingdom Choir. (Watch Annie and Lola Lennox’s performance below).
“I want to help women and their families understand that, while living with HIV can be hard, it is nothing to be ashamed of. That prioritising our children really is the foundation of life. That as Mentor Mothers, we will always be there to guide and support them.” These were the words of m2m Spokeswoman Limpho Nteko, who took centre stage—albeit remotely given current travel restrictions—on the incredible, immersive screens of Outernet London, an extraordinary brand-new multimedia complex in the heart of London.
Guests were left inspired by the message that health solutions that prioritise female-led and community-based models are key to guaranteeing a healthier, more equal future. Today more than ever, the work of the 1,900 Mentor Mothers—the incredible women living with HIV currently employed by m2m as frontline health workers across sub-Saharan Africa—to unlock the power of women to advance gender and health equity, matters. Our 20th Anniversary celebrations have been an opportunity to share this galvanising message and work to ensure that no women, family, or community in sub-Saharan Africa is left behind—and the Gala was no exception!
Limpho shared her story and explained what inspired her to become a Mentor Mother: “My daughters Teliso and her little sister Mpho are both healthy and HIV-free. That makes me a very proud mother. It is also the reason I decided to work for mothers2mothers, and become a role model for my community and for my daughters.” And that is exactly what Limpho is doing each and every day—as a leader, and role model for her clients, for her community, and for her young daughters, she is helping to create health, hope, and an HIV-free future.
Frank Beadle de Palomo, m2m President & CEO, celebrated m2m’s journey since its creation in 2001, and the incredible reach and impact driven by Mentor Mothers: “I couldn’t be prouder of the journey mothers2mothers has come on, from starting out in the boot of our founder Dr. Mitch Besser’s car, to now operating across hundreds of sites in ten African nations and reaching millions of people.” Indeed, over the least 20 years, over 11,000 jobs have been created for women living with HIV, who have in turn reached over 13.5 million women, children, adolescents and families with life-changing health education, and support.
Building on this message of reach and impact, and recognising the critical role of partnerships, Sienna Miller, on behalf of Marco Bizzarri, Gucci’s President and CEO, joined Frank in highlighting the power of m2m Mentor Mothers: “Mentor Mothers show the world, every day, that the impossible can be accomplished.”
Emma France, m2m Global Development & Strategic Engagement Director, reminded guests however that, while huge strides have been made, we still have a long way to go: “Limpho and the mothers2mothers Mentor Mothers really do embody the power of women—when women lead, healthy communities follow”, and took the opportunity on World AIDS day to ask, “are we doing enough?”. With only eight years to go until the United Nations’ Global Goal of ending HIV/AIDS and creating Health for All by 2030, and with COVID-19 threatening decades of hard-earned progress by health workers like Mentor Mothers, the need to refocus efforts on, and invest in, a new generation of African female leaders is more urgent than ever.
That is why the generosity shown at the Gala in support of m2m Mentor Mothers’ work could not be more vital. Funds raised at the 20th Anniversary Winter Gala will go towards supporting our work across ten sub-Saharan African countries where we train and employ women living with HIV as Mentor Mothers, community health workers who are change-makers in their communities. Together we can help ensure that every woman, child, and family thrives, not just survives.
Thank you to presenting partners Gucci and CHIME FOR CHANGE, to our hosts the ADOT foundation and Outernet London, our sponsors Flexjets, Farfetch Private Clients and Johnson & Johnson, our phenomenal Host Committee, and everyone who came to show their support.