Maria Mchele Mwasonge, mother and ‘tree of life’

Cooper Munroe, co-founder of The Motherhood blog, shares the story of Maria Mchele Mwasonge, an enterprising mom from Tanzania who found a way to support her family through sweet potatoes.


It’s a profound honor to be a part of ONE’s Mom Advisory Committee and to recognize Mother’s Day here today with all of you.

I’m a mom of four from Pittsburgh, Penn., and I co-run a website for mothers called The Motherhood. We’ve learned many truths about mothers through our community, but these three remind me the most of what we are focusing on with ONE:

1. Even though mothers often carry the burdens of the world, they do so on strong shoulders.
2. Moms have an unmatched ability to “make it happen.”
3. A mothers’ DNA carries within it the mantra, “leave everything better than you found it.”

In other words, mothers make the world go around.

We witness it all the time. Ordinary moms, every day, see a need — and without hesitation do what they can to make a difference in that need. That is why I love formally bringing moms into ONE, with all that represents and everything it will help make happen.


Maria Mchele Mwasonge of Tanzania is a powerful inspiration to me as we move forward.

Maria and her five kids used to sleep on a rag that covered the floor, but that all changed when Maria was trained how to grow sweet potatoes.

From her small potato farm, Maria has built a thriving business. Now her children go to school and the family lives in a new home. Other farmers have learned from Maria how she grows the most nutrient-rich plants, and in the process local health clinics report that malnutrition in the area’s young children has dropped.

Even when she sleeps, Maria said, she thinks about her potatoes.

(If you haven’t already, be sure to read the ONE report “Africa’s Future is Female,” which includes Maria’s story.)

An age-old description of mothers popped into my head when I read about Maria: “She is a tree of life to them.”

“Them” is certainly her children, but when it comes to mothers, many times “them” means everyone she can help or lift up in her own way.

Today at 1 PM ET, The Motherhood will be hosting a live, text-based talk with the ONE Campaign and Every Mother Counts to celebrate mothers everywhere. Please join us and share what inspires you about mothers and learn more about what we can do to help mothers and kids around the globe who need us.

We hope to see you there!

PS. This amazing video by Former First Lady Laura Bush is a beautiful reminder that for moms, one child is every child. I hope it motivates you as much as it did me!

Follow Cooper on Twitter: @coopermunroe