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Three years after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, my parents decided we needed to leave the country. It would look suspicious for our entire family to leave together, so my mother, pregnant, and with three young children in tow, had to get us out by herself. After that complete reset on life, we settled in the Washington, D.C. area where my mother worked tirelessly to ensure we were well-educated and equipped to take advantage of life’s opportunities.
I met Annet Samaya during a recent United Nations Foundation learning trip to Uganda. Annet lives on Bussi Island in the Lake Victoria Basin, one of the most vulnerable regions in Uganda. Like other families on Bussi, Annet’s family relies on the land and had been living in very difficult conditions. With assistance and training from the Hope Project, Annet had learned sustainable agricultural practices and developed her land to such a point that it now yields more than enough to support her family. When I asked how she spends her surplus she replied that she sends her two oldest children to a good boarding school so that they may have more opportunities in the future.
Meeting Annet was a humble reminder of my own mother’s sacrifices for me and my siblings. Strength, resilience and selflessness. These are the traits that I have come to associate with mothers who spend their lives giving of themselves for the next generation. So today I’m privileged to celebrate the more than 2 billion mothers around the world, and I’m proud to honor the mothers in my life — from my selfless wife who is an amazing mother to our three beautiful little girls, to my own mother without whom I would be nothing of what I am today.