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  • Meet The Team | GlobalMomsInitiative

    Meet the Team Volunteer Operation Team International Advisory Board Youth Advisory Board 100 Hours Volunteer Club Operation Team+ Alma Liu Legal Consultant, Community Partners Coco Cheng GlobalMoms Podcast Producer Margaret Nie MomStory100 Program Lead, Senior Editor Sharon Liu UX/UI Designer Caixiu Zhou Multimedia Content Advisor Faye Yang GMI art+ Program Advisor Mari International Community Coordinator Sun Lingxi Social Media Contents Editor Chai Chai Co-Head of Design Innovation Center Jacqueline MomDesigner100 Content Editor Petru Simion International Volunteer Program Co-lead Vivian Wu Volunteer Program Coordinator Chen Si Ting MomStory100 Program Co-lead Jane Li Founder and Chief Volunteer Pinky MomStory Editor, MomCEO100 Mentorship Program Coordinator Yvonne Sun Jobs4Moms Program Co-lead Christina Ren Editor, Podcast Co-producer Lotus Wang Jobs4Moms Program Lead Selina Ma 10-Months Writing Program Coordinator Ziwei Luo English Podcast Producer Back to Top Operation Team International Advisory Team International Advisory Board Ms. Charmaine du Plessis Charmaine du Plessis is a global marketing communications professional and has held senior executive leadership roles in marketing, corporate and strategic communication, public relations, and brand and reputation management. Her career is multi-sectoral and she enjoys working across cultures. She has worked and partnered with organizations in South Africa, United States of America, Dubai, India, and Malaysia. Her expertise, as integrated marketing, and corporate communications specialist, covers various aspects, including the development, implementation, and management of numerous integrated marketing communication strategies. She currently resides in Beijing, China. Ms. Jasmine Lau Jasmine Lau is a social entrepreneur, educator, and international community builder. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of PIM (Purpose in Motion, formerly Philanthropy in Motion), which empowers young people with education, resources, and networks to become effective leaders and changemakers. She is part of the inaugural board of advisors to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers initiative, which aims to promote collective citizen action globally to accomplish the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Jasmine has been recognized by Forbes 30 Under 30 for her work in social entrepreneurship and the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper. She is a recipient of the Richard Rockefeller Fellowship and the Hong Kong Youth Service Award. Ms. Kitty Li A Hong Kong returned overseas Chinese youth leader and one of the top ten female entrepreneurs in the Chinese education industry. As the founder of a leading high-end brand in the Chinese family education sector, she has made significant contributions to the development of the Chinese family education market with her practical and unique insights. She has access to high-end educational toys for infants and young children worldwide, as well as abundant resources of family education experts. She pays special attention to the needs of contemporary women and mothers, accumulating rich experiences and venturing into areas such as family offices, law firms, and mommy clubs. She pursues the charm of lifelong growth and is passionate about empowering others. Ms. Kiyono Kiyono, the founder of the Deli de Luxe Restaurant advocating for sustainable lifestyles in the city, has eight years of experience in the film industry, with two children born into her cross-cultural family (Japan, China, and Germany). She also keeps exploring women's sustainable balanced life, with a focus on east-west cultural exchange and understanding. Ms. Mari Sharashidze With the educational background in Social and Political Sciences, Mari has worked in non-profit organizational development in Georgia and has seen first-hand that empowering women and girls can bring transformational improvements in families, communities, and societies. She has worked in education industry for over five years while also volunteering for women’s empowerment and well-being in Beijing, China. She has seen the importance of people’s engagement in actions towards positive impact making.With some knowledge in partnership development, community engagement, child and youth education, strategy planning, policy advocacy and parenting, she’s here to contribute to the overall well-being of GlobalMoms. Dr. May Farid She is a political scientist studying civil society, policy and development in contemporary China and beyond. She currently researches education policy in China as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Stanford's Graduate School of Education. Her research centers on the interplay between citizen initiatives and state policy and practice, and the implications of this dynamic for development and governance. Ordinary citizens are increasingly taking individual and collective initiative to address development challenges. Ms. Sonja Ling Sonja has worked as a renewable energy policy advocate and currently works at Sun Path Electric, a socially conscious solar company in Seattle. She is the program director for Global Women Partners in Philanthropy, a project that helps donors worldwide become effective philanthropists in their own communities by adopting the collective giving grantmaking model developed by the Washington Women’s Foundation. Sonja is the mom of two kids and believes we must all take local action on climate change. For over ten years, she served on the board of Washington Women for Climate Action Now (formerly CoolMom), a Seattle-based nonprofit that engages and empowers women to lead equitable climate action in Washington state. She has lived and worked in Taiwan and during the past decade she and her family have spent extended periods of time in both Beijing and Kunming, China. She holds a BA from the University of Washington and MSc in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford, where she focused her research on solar power in Qinghai, China. Dr. Samantha Sibanda Born in Zimbabwe and working in Beijing. Founder of Appreciate Africa Network an organization that is there to promote the values of African socio-cultural and economic contributions in the world. She is also the brains behind Pride Of Africa Asia Awards which aims to appreciate African individuals who are making remarkable contributions in Asia Pacific. Ms. Wang Le A Chinese mom who lives in New York. She comes with many years’ experience in international development and the Humanatrain sector in Asia and Africa. She worked both on the front line supporting children and mothers in need and influencing policy and political debates at United Nations through inter-government processes. Wang Le also brings experts in Children’s rights, non-profit management and resilience-building for the most vulnerable groups in society. Her life and work in a multi-culture environment have given her a unique perspective on inclusion and diversity. From the most remote area of northern Kenya to the metropolitan of shanghai or New York, mothers play the most important role to ensure their kids are healthy and achieve their full potential in development. This is why the global mums’ initiative is an excellent platform to connect them and empower them to be the best of themselves and be the best for their children and society! Ms. Zhou Weiyan Board Chair of Beijing Young Zen Foundation, founding board director of One Foundation, founding board director of Grameen Bank (China), standing director of China Association for Community Development, founding board director of Beijing Normal University China Philanthropy Research Institute, and Board Director of The Nature Conservancy (China). Besides, she drafted the National Guideline for Child-friendly Community Building, which was officially issued in 2020. We believe her commitment and impact in China philanthropy sector will help GMI further our mission and vision, to support more moms in need in China and around the globe. Back to Top Youth Advisory Board Youth Advisory Board Nina Cheng Nina, a 17-year-old senior student in a Beijing High School. She loves writing, interviewing, translating and so on. She wants to pursue further studies in Media, Psychology and Sociology, because she is really interested in the interaction mode among human beings and in herself. Nubes Chen Currently pursuing master degree in urban planning in the US. Nubes has abundant consulting experiences in business and public areas in China from 2018 to 2022. She also pays individual efforts to women charities as a volunteer researcher. She highly appreciates GMI’s endeavor to redefine mothers’ values and desires to contribute to women’s development. With the idea of combining her interests in urban development and gender equality, she hopes to instill humanism in our cities and make them places where women's stories are heard, women's power is granted, and everyone is respected as an individual. Petru Simion Petru is a seasoned product manager, with +5 years of experience in entrepreneurship, scale-ups and innovation. More recently, also a student in International Development and Management at Lund University (Sweden) and as of latest relocated to Beijing. He is passionate about development across a variety of topics, from climate and wellbeing to social change and women empowerment. Sharon Liu Sharon, currently based in Beijing with experience in the US and UK. Background in contemporary art, psychoanalytical visual cultures, and UX design. She is passionate about the exploration and support of mental health and self-actualization, and creative experiences that nurture connection between and within people. Designer of the first GMI website. Xie Meiling Xie Meiling, now based in Shenzhen. She obtained her master degree in nonprofit management from the University of Hong Kong. She is the founder of the Hejia Social Work Development Center, focusing on community building and youth civic education. She thinks the charm of GMI lies in its values of inclusiveness, diversity and belief in every mom and everyone, which is that every woman and mom can break through all the barriers and make positive contributions to the whole society. Kate, Xu Ting VC investor, venture builder, bilingual podcast host and producer, specializing in cross-border and emerging markets since 2017. "The women/female friends I have met in my life have showed me the limitless possibilities of what it means to be a woman. I am very blessed to have met them and have learned from them to follow your heart, your passion, and to live the life you want. There is magic , strength and power in female bonding." Back to Top

  • Space4Moms | GlobalMomsInitiative

    Partner with Space4Moms Open Spaces, Open Hearts Since 2021 September, GMI has launched the four flagship programs of MomStory100, MomDesigner100, MomCEO100 and Women Entrepreneurs Club, as well as Jobs4Moms. Based on our online experience, now we are looking to recruit gender-friendly space partners around the country and the world to support more moms through our programs’ offline activities. Become A Space Partner View Spaces Online Campaigns & Events During the COVID pandemic period, GMI has launched a series of online campaigns and events to support moms from different dimensions: 100-day 100-word English writing challenge A 15-day writing and therapy workshop guided by a counselor A workshop on restoring confidence and resilience led by a career coach A workshop on flexible thinking led by a career coach MomDesign100 general courses by cross-disciplinary mentors Peer advisory Groups for Mom CEOs and women entrepreneurs etc. 121 mentorships offered for Jobs4Moms and MomCEO100 Offline Activities In the future, when the pandemic ends, offline life will resume. GMI activities will also be presented offline because people need real face-to-face communication opportunities. Offline activities will be presented through GMI volunteers and members of the GMI & Partners Network, include but not limited to: In the future, when the pandemic ends, offline life will resume. GMI activities will also be presented offline because people need real face-to-face communication opportunities. Offline activities will be presented through GMI volunteers and members of the GMI & Partners Network, include but not limited to: MomStory100 | Writing, therapy, artistic expression | Reading and writing instructors Writing and therapy coaches Writers at home and abroad Artists at home and abroad Scholars and academic advisers Career development coaches etc. Learn More MomCEO100 | Social Venture/Entrepreneurship | Mom/female entrepreneurs Social Entrepreneurship Mentors Angel/impact investors/Foundations Social Venture Capital Network Learn More MomDesigner100 | Design | Designers from different disciplines Women brand founders at home & abroad Platforms & institutions that support women designers Learn More Jobs4Moms | Job-Seeking | B Corps and social enterprises DEI focused corporations Career coaches and trainers Online job agencies etc. Learn More Target Partners Art gallery/art space Coffee shop/tearoom/bookshop Public education space Community library/center Shared office space Shopping mall activity space Space for innovation and entrepreneurship Design space and so on Space Partner Benefits GMI will promote space partners on our social media accounts and online groups to encourage offline interaction among members. GMI will prioritize to host our community and partner events in the co-op spaces. GMI Design Innovation Center are willing to offer pro-bono services (with annual quota) to space partners based on requests. GMI will recommend space partners to GMI & Partners Network. Others can be negotiated. Space4Mom Partner Principles We volunteer to provide free of charge activity venue for GMI. We are committed to creating a safe, friendly, and respectful environment for women and children as well as gender minorities in the space. We are willing to display the GMI Space4Moms logo in a specific location to show support for women and Moms. Logo guide coming soon. We adopt GMI's philosophy of fulfilling ourselves through empowering others, in our case, to empower more moms. In the future, we will consider donating part of GMI activity income to women empowerment charities including GMI's Mom Writer Fund. We are willing to offer GMI volunteers and members a 10% discount on services and products offered in the space (Optional). Space4Moms Spaces AGORA Bookstore Founded in 2020 and located near Exit A of Jiangtai Station of Metro Line 14 in Beijing, the manager and space operation team try to build a comfortable market space, bringing you a life like walking, seeing, rummaging and wandering around - "We look forward to the abundance of items in the market, find the story behind each item, travel back to relevant important moments from one item, and experience the classic ...... that is not diluted by time". Contact: Ann @wechat ID (qq29858890) Half The Sky Bookstore/Cultural Center Half The Sky Bookstore/Cultural Center is a gender studies organization established on March 8, 2019. It is a free research platform for women’s reading, discussing and experience sharing. It is dedicated to promoting gender equality, as well as its teaching, learning, research, service and communication. Address:5th Floor, Xingyuan Apartment, Shiji Square, No.93, Heping Road, Beilin District, Xi'an Phone:18509220633 SeeD Studio SeeD Studio is an aesthetic space where we hope to inspire people to value sustainability and care about food. By running this space as a bridge to connect citizens with nature, we hope to inspire people to return to the origin, and to explore an eco-friendly lifestyle. We believe that food recycling should be taken into consideration at every step of the process -- from food growing, to organic eating, and to recycling. Address: No.11 Aiguo Rd., Overseas Chinese Village, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou Email: info@seedstudio.com.cn Deli de Luxe A gourmet cafe specialising in seasonal, organic, farm-to-table food. Deli’s shared community living room hosts a variety of family-friendly events. Address: 16 Floor, Block A, East Lake International Center, 6 Lizexi Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing Phone: 18610904016 YiPai YiPai is an innovative learning space that provides interdisciplinary, experiential and flexible learning programs for children aged 6-18 and their families. YiPai aims to support chidlren in cultivating key future-oriented competences for life-long learning: Exploration, Creativity, Care, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking. Address: Unit 201-204, Building 6, Shenye Zhongcheng, No.8089 Honglixi Rd, Futian District, Shenzhen Email: yipai@yipai.org Space Directory

  • HOME | GlobalMomsInitiative

    GlobalMoms Initiative A nonprofit initiative that connects mothers around the world with social, professional, and financial resources as they strive to achieve physical and mental well being. About Us Programs Close Gender Gap for Moms and Everyone While supporting the UN’s Global Goals to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, GMI intends to draw global attention to the gap between women with children and everybody else. Given that nearly two billion of the world’s population are mothers, identifying their needs and problems and providing support to their well-being has a major impact on the world’s future. MomStory100 Project The MomStory100 Project relies on volunteer story lovers to find, link, and/or interview moms. We also encourage every mom to write her own narrative to identify her needs and the barriers she experiences against individual development. Share Your Story MomCEO100 Club Are you a mom entrepreneur looking for support? Our MomCEO community aims to link key educational and developmental resources such as knowledge, skills, technology, talent, funding and social networks for mom business owners to help them start and grow their business. Join The Club Join Us Who is a globalmom? If you see yourself as a global citizen or care about world issues, and are interested to join hands with other moms to break social barriers for a more equitable society for all, then you should join us! Volunteer GMI Newsletter To keep posted on GMI's milestones, impact, funding, jobs, and partnership opportunities, please subscribe to our Quarterly Newsletter. Subscribe Thanks for subscribing! City Chapters To expand our global network, unite globalmoms, and inspire the world with MomQ, we are activating offline City Chapters throughout China and beyond. View Chapters

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Jobs (19)

  • Life Is Motion

    Nelly Alarma-Vidondo, 64. I am the daughter of Spanish political immigrants, born in Didube, Tbilisi. I graduated from a Russian school during the Soviet Union. When I was 3 years old, my father left us, and I grew up alone with my mother. We had a very friendly relationship. When I was 13, she fell ill, and we spent the next 5 years in hospitals before she passed away. I had no relatives in Georgia. At the age of 17, I met my future husband in my yard. He kidnapped me as it was a common practice back then. We had four children together, two girls, and two boys. My children brought light into my life, and they meant everything to me. I became fully immersed in their lives, often forgetting about myself. Now, I am blessed with nine grandchildren. There were both challenges and joyful moments along the way. I worked as an art teacher in a school for some time. However, when all my children fell ill with hepatitis simultaneously, I had no choice but to leave my job. Even my husband was emotional when he saw how many children came to beg me not to leave the school. I also worked as a nanny, forming special bonds with the babies who enjoyed my energy and aura. My husband had a difficult personality, and there were cases of domestic violence in our family. Despite the hardships, I endured everything for the sake of my children. He left us 22 years ago, leaving me penniless and initially scared to be alone with four children. I sold everything in our home, be it gold or pottery. However, we gradually found our independence, started working, and supported each other. Motherhood was physically exhausting, but I cherished every moment. I was a dedicated and sometimes "crazy" mother. Looking back, I wonder if I needed to work so tirelessly. Late nights were spent ironing and washing after the children went to bed. Their presence and the noise they made never bothered me; I kept them close at all times. We functioned as a united team, doing everything together in a friendly and cohesive manner. In the 90s, with no electricity or gas, we relied on a wood stove. My oldest son entertained us with his humor, while the rest of us engaged in needlework, knitting, and embroidery. I often find myself nostalgic for those simpler times. One of my top priorities was to provide warmth and love to my children. When they were with me, I felt a deep sense of responsibility for nurturing them. I approached our relationship as equals, fostering a bond where they felt comfortable opening up to me. We became each other's confidants, supporting each other through the challenging years. I made it a point to welcome their friends into our home, getting to know them and observing their interactions. Despite feeling exhausted at times, I found joy in cooking and creating a welcoming environment for everyone. I cherished the friendship I shared with my mother, often missing her while at school. After finishing my lessons, I would eagerly visit her at work, enjoying our outings to the cinema and cafes as we explored new experiences together. Five years ago, I faced a diagnosis of third-stage cancer, undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The onset of the pandemic added further challenges to my journey. When a new store opened in my neighborhood, I eagerly took on a job there. Interacting with customers provided a welcomed distraction. Despite feeling fatigued, the warmth and kindness from others boosted my self-confidence. Their compliments reassured me of my worth, and having my own income brought a sense of independence. While my personal struggles may not be of interest to those I encounter at work, I find fulfillment in listening to and caring for them. When they express gratitude and admiration, it fills my heart with joy. I didn't truly discover myself until receiving the cancer diagnosis and navigating through the challenges that followed. For so long, I lived solely for others - my mother, my husband, and my children. I focused on their happiness, forgetting my own desires. However, during treatment, I realized the importance of living my own life and embracing who I am. Perhaps this difficult journey was a reminder from a higher power to prioritize self-care. In recent years, I've received more recognition than ever before. Even during hospital visits for treatments, I was often mistaken for a caregiver rather than the patient. The nurses' kind words and gestures of support helped me through the toughest times, and their care was truly heartwarming. Amidst the pandemic, I found solace in knitting and used my talent to create blankets for doctors. The joy it brought them was priceless, and crafting became a way to combat isolation. Participating in a holiday crafts exhibition allowed me to showcase my creativity, and my colleagues appreciated my handmade work. While I've always been busy, my perspective on life has shifted. I now cherish the simple moments, savoring the freedom of not being tied to obligations. Spending time with my children and grandchildren fills me with a renewed energy and a deep sense of gratitude. Embracing this newfound zest for life, I am grateful for the unwavering support of my loved ones and the joy they bring into my life. My son is my best friend. He brings out the best in me, he changed my life in many ways. He is my image maker, and we go shopping together. He encourages me to make free choices regardless of the age. My life-choices were guided by stereotypes and biases since childhood and now I’m slowly getting rid of them. We’re meeting today. We’ll go to cafes, and restaurants, and have deep conversations about life. We tell each other everything and we solve problems together. Being close to him comforts me. I'm happy I have him in my life. When I was diagnosed with cancer, he took care of everything, from paychecks to entertainment. He takes care of his siblings and their children too. They respond with great respect and love. Thanks to Guram, today, I am stronger than ever. On the 4th of January, regardless of the fatigue I was experiencing as a result of chemo infusion, he still took me out shopping. He made me feel exactly the same way as we remember Julia Roberts in the famous shopping scene in “Pretty Woman.” Sadness disappeared and then we sat down at the restaurant for some sweet chat. There is a big difference between the mothers of my generation and the modern moms. More and more women refuse to keep their marriage at all costs. They are bolder and take risks. Maybe it's better. People's opinions meant so much to me, it was so important what others would say or think about my actions. We had to be patient and always compromise. We lived in fear, with no freedom of choice and expression. I was afraid of everything and I was depressed because of it. Motherhood has always been challenging across the geographies and generations. But modern mothers are more fearless, and I like it. Be bold and make courageous decisions. Believe in yourself. Don't think that someone will come and help you. No, you have to overcome the difficulties yourself. This is how you become stronger. Believe that you can do anything. A human can do everything. The weaker you are more troubles and trials you’re getting in life. You may not know where your strength is hidden, but you will someday find yourself in a situation where you feel how much you’re capable of overcoming and achieving. I felt that life is only experienced in motion. I don't get lazy anymore, I spend every day energetically. I believe in God. Whatever trouble came my way, it was from him, I know that. I understood his message and I prove it by the actions that I take every day.

  • True Personal Growth Is the Courage to Be Yourself

    Tamar Atuashvili, 60. Kakheti/Tbilisi. I am a village girl, who moved to Tbilisi at the age of 13. Am I Kakhetian or Tbilisian? It’s up to you to decide. I finished my 8th grade in Vachnadziani, then I entered a Medical School in the capital and started to work as a nurse at the ambulance. Soon I got married and started a family life. I loved my job and stayed in the medical field for almost 15 years. In the early 90s, Georgia faced economic difficulties and the salaries of the medical staff were no longer paid. That’s when I left my job and moved to the hotel where my husband worked. The first years in the new family were difficult. My husband’s parents were elderly, they were very nice people, and they treated me well, but as a mother, I went through many challenges. Raising 3 children with an interval of 2 years, taking them to school and various classes. I didn't want them to miss any chance to be well-educated. I kept up with everything and stayed up late at night, I couldn't remember when I slept and when I would wake up. I used to be an example in the neighborhood: how much this little girl can do, she leads a big family and does so much for her children, they said. This was an incentive for me and I pushed myself even harder. The times when I had all three children at home lasted for a short while. Sometimes I was neglecting or harsh because I was in charge of both family affairs and raising children alone, and it was difficult to distribute equal warmth and attention to all my children. It wasn't my duty to purchase food and various household products but it was up to me to feed the family and keep the house clean and tidy. My mother-in-law was applauding me, "What a smart girl you are", and it made me invest more resources into the daily work. Now I regret so much that I didn't take care of myself and I got to the point of physical burnout. I think I would have been able to stay healthy and active longer if I had divided my time equally between work and rest. Doctors ask me where I worked with such a physical load when they look at my X-rays. I regret it. Even though I studied well and entered the university in the first year, I was hardworking, and I had support from my parents to grow further, marriage prevented my professional development. I had my first child at the age of 21. The family had no financial issues at that time and my income did not mean much. It seems that I did not have enough courage to prioritize my professional aspirations. The new family was satisfied with the fact that I was raising children and cooking dinners. I love needlework. Knitting and sewing help me relax and I have been good at it since my childhood. I have been singing in different choirs since I was little and I remember wanting to be a singer. I loved gymnastics and practiced everywhere I could. I spent nights watching figure skating. Sports and music filled me up and lifted me. Watching football with my brother's friends was a big celebration. I was active in my youth. I had a wonderful time as a student, we traveled a lot, and we visited all of Georgia, including Sukhumi and Abkhazia. We were able to do this with our salary savings. I don't remember well the first two years of marriage. After living an independent and active life, I suddenly found myself in a small house with my in-laws, sister-in-law, and her family. I was mostly at home, I didn't go anywhere except for work, and I was somewhat ashamed to hang out with friends as usual. When you try to be caring towards every family member, always smile and then you realize that it’s too much. When the possibility of moving to another place with my husband and children arose, I hesitated to express my desire. They had one son and how dare I take him away from his family. It’s bad to get married at a young age, you can’t understand anything, and you are too immature to see what is best for the future. Now the second circle has come when both children and grandchildren have grown up and the choice of an independent life has approached again. You don't know how long you live in this world, so if I can find enough courage and decide that I can still do things that I like and that I’m good at, I'd love to create more. Do you know yourself? At the age of 60, yes I know. I didn't know before. I didn't even think about it, I was just busy with daily life. Now I want more good people around me, I reflect on how I am to others, and I want to become more interesting myself. As you get older, you need people like you to escape loneliness. You feel that you are no longer needed as you were before. These thoughts led me to get to know myself better. I have been soul-searching for 2-3 years. I also ask my acquaintances to honestly share how I, as a person, look in their eyes. Sometimes you play a little bit before you become what you want to be. Now I know what I want to become and I am working on it. There's a lot to sort out and change within myself. I am direct and quick-tempered, I express my opinions without taking the time to think about and analyze them. I see the lives of elderly people in Georgia through a negative lens. I can imagine how meaningless life will be when you cannot physically help your children and others. As people age, they degrade, fail to realize themselves, and lock themselves up, my perception is such. My friend and I sometimes encourage each other that our free life has just started and that we still have a lot to see, to be financially independent, to travel, and to enjoy life. We never know what life has in store for us. A small house that doesn't need a lot of maintenance is perfect for me. Living alone, or with my spouse if he stays supportive. My own space would be very relaxing. Where I would not tire myself by cleaning the house and taking care of a big family and would free up more time for self-awareness. The event that changed my life was the death of my mother. My life was divided before and after that day. Mother filled me with hope. Having a mother is different.  She is the only person who is always there for you, and who cares about you unconditionally. Even if I’m sick, how can I not be there for the surgery, she told me. That’s when I fell into a deep depression. What are some advice for women? The opinion that having many children is good for the family and societies, is popular. From my experience, I would rather have a few children and raise them well. You simply can’t give them enough. It’s impossible. If the family supports the mother in a way that she only needs to take care of their education and upbringing, of course, the more children you have, the better it is. More children bring many sorrows, but joy prevails, many children will fulfill you. But when you are not financially stable, the children are oppressed, they can’t develop well, you can’t support them in many ways, and then as you age, you have many regrets. I advise women to have children when they are ready to do everything for them, for the sake of their peace of mind. If you have the means, having many children is wealth. If you can't afford it, have one and give him/her everything that it takes to raise a human. A woman must follow her path. It is also good for the children to see a strong and active mother, they have more hope then. When they grow up and see you being weak and vulnerable, they won’t be able to fully spread their wings. A woman must have her work and path. I am not in favor of early marriage. You can't think well, you are immature. It depends so much on the new family. Will they support your growth or will you have to forget about your desires and aspirations?! You realize many things on the way and you try to change, some things work out, some things not anymore. Be thoughtful and only when you’re on your path and independent both financially and emotionally, you can plan to have children. The happiness of your children makes you happy, the sadness of your children makes you sad. You feel well when your children are well. There is no other factor contributing to a mother’s happiness as strong as this. When I see that my children are strong, joyful, and healthy, it’s enough for me to be happy. When I’m going through difficult times, God gives me hope. Proximity to him is so fulfilling. If you believe that you are not alone in your ups and downs and that God is always with you, then nothing will scare you. I want to be like that, to have the ability to feel it all the time. It is often the case that God is remembered during difficult times. I want to be close to God all the time and have no fear of anything in this life. I want to be spiritually strong and to visit the church more often. I know what peace of mind and healing feels like when you’re close to God. In the next life, would you be a mother again? I would definitely be a mother, but I would be a better mother than I was. With the experience I’ve already gained, I know what to change and how to do things better. I thought that providing education, clothing, and food was enough to raise a child, but it’s not so. You should not be a slave to anything and dependent on anyone, you should be an emancipated individual, you should not follow the crowd/flow and you should not be in obedience. A person, a woman, should be strong and courageous. If I’d had more courage as a child and a young lady, I would have said a lot of things instead of being silent and ashamed of expressing my opinions, I would have changed a lot. Spinning this energy wishing yourself is damaging. You have to release what is ripening in you and you have to bring it to the ears of others. Those who like it will follow you. Those who don't like it, fine, let them go. I regret that I wasn’t that courageous girl but I'm learning to be one now.

  • Experiencing the World Through Traveling, Art, and a Natural Motherhood

    Nino Trentinella, 44. Tbilisi. When I was about 8 months old, my parents discovered that I had a congenital condition, so actually, I couldn’t walk. From that point until I was seven, I had many surgeries, and there were many unsuccessful ones. I ended up in Siberia at an experimental clinic. The doctor there was a genius. He developed a technic that wasn’t used by a wider public and he helped me. So now I can walk and run, and do everything. When I had one of the appointments they showed me my X-ray, in one X-ray there was no bone in the middle, and in another X-ray, the bone was there. So, basically, he grew the bone where there was nothing. Just seeing those images the idea of “anything is possible” was very much ingrained in me. It was a transformational moment to see the concrete visual of nothing filled with something. I’m a visual person and after seeing this, the idea that you can do anything that you put your mind to and that anything is possible was instilled in me. I was 13 when my parents moved from Georgia to the US, and it was not an easy transition. I did my schooling and university studies in the States. Then I moved to Europe when I got married and ever since then I’ve been traveling with my husband and with my daughter once she was born. I gave birth in Australia, and we lived there for four years. I lived in a few countries and now we’re here in Georgia, expecting our second child. We love traveling and I think this is one of the best things you can offer to your children as well, especially, before they are teenagers. We still do slow traveling. We did world schooling for a few years, then she asked to be in an actual school. That’s why we were staying a little longer in different countries. We would choose to live in various cultures with a lot of intention. Learning about new places, how people live there… You pick all of these things, and your children do, too. Motherhood for sure was transformational. It almost erases the personality and you have to start from scratch. You’re focused on your child 100% and you kind of neglect your own needs, if you don’t have support, which I didn’t. Because we were traveling, every time we had to restart the community and find a new support network, which took a lot of time. You’re spending all your time taking care of your child and you have less time left for your own needs. That was quite challenging. Trying not to lose personality and do things for yourself too. Not having a village to support you made it a bit harder. Last year in London was the most difficult. We moved within London and lost the community we had in another neighborhood. All the support disappeared for a year. This is why we decided to come here for the second baby. Usually, when we move somewhere, we make a list of pros and cons. Australia offers the highest quality of life that we’ve experienced. We compare other places to Australia but actually, nothing really compares to the quality of life that is there. But the sun was too extreme, and it was impossible to be outdoors during the day. We were far away from family and traveling was not that easy as well. Apart from that, it was just great there. The community in the small city where we lived was very present and conscious. Natural parenting was present too. I pretty much learned everything from them and even now, when I have medical questions, that is the community that I connect with. Somehow, even though it’s online, I still get the best support from them. I’m quite aware of myself and my thought processes, and I control them quite well if I need to. It has always been that way. I think it comes from being neurodivergent and my brain being wired differently (laughs). I don’t feel I ever fit anywhere but I always find a way to fit in. I can find people to connect with in any culture. Maybe that comes from my childhood again, being so resilient. The adaptability to change was instilled in me from early on, I don’t know if it came from hospital experiences or it’s just a personality. I can adapt very easily to any situation. I have a very diverse group of acquaintances and friends. I get along with most people and can find something in common with almost everyone. As a child, I’ve always been independent. I always saw myself as an adult from the age of two. In my head, I was an adult. In my head, it’s always been like that. I still did kid things but the thought processes in my head were different and I was aware of that. I think I’m more rebellious, I like to challenge the status quo. There are moments when I feel like I need to conform to certain things as part of society, but if I feel something isn’t right, I will not do that regardless of what others say. It could be more challenging for other people if they want to convince me otherwise. I usually do a lot of research on a topic so when I speak I know what I’m talking about, then I don’t get affected by anything else around. I’m an artist, so I just do creative things. I don’t necessarily work with one medium, creativity can be writing, drawing, painting, photography, AI this year, etc. I always try to keep a creative lifestyle. It’s a bit challenging when you have kids. When my daughter was small, sometimes I would just watch her being creative, or I would do things alongside her, just to keep a kind of creative output. I try to integrate it into daily things. It could be cooking, too. I did a lot more photography which was easier in the circumstances when you get interrupted every two seconds by a small kid. Even if I couldn’t edit it necessarily, I would still keep taking pictures. It helps on so many different levels, with mental health and emotions. Before I gave birth to my daughter, I would travel by myself. I could just open the door and leave the house whenever I felt like this. After becoming a mother, you can’t actually do that. Someone else is there, you have to get her ready, and she might not want to, then you need to negotiate, there’s another person there. So, motherhood affected a sense of independence. Another big shift was not being able to do art whenever I wanted to, as much as I wanted to. Also, before she was born, I thought I was healthy but then I realized, I wasn’t. My diet changed, and I feel way healthier and better now. I am way more ready for pregnancy than I was back then. Before, no one is depending on you, so you are just doing your own thing at your own rhythm, and then you’re not anymore. Career-wise, I didn’t work for almost 6 years, however, being a teacher, I easily got back to work. I wanted to be with her as much as possible, especially, between three to five years of age. Those are the most formative, most important years. I had little commissions, and part-time projects here and there. But my intention was not to go back full-time, because then someone else is raising your child, that didn’t make any sense at all. My husband and I assisted Dr. Gabor Mate’s online workshop a few years ago and my husband went to meet him for a lecture this year in London. He proves that three to five years of child development is very important. We read his books and we were very conscious of choosing to be with our daughter all these years. When she was two, that’s when my husband’s contract in Australia ended and we moved here, a family gap year ended up being a year and a half. We didn’t work, we had enough money to live, so until she was three and a half she had both of us. It wasn’t an easy decision but we knew it was very important for her development to have our presence. Finally, when she started to ask to go to school and went to school that she liked, that’s when I went back to work. I work in education (Nino holds multiple awards and her projects as a teacher and an artist are widely recognized. Recently, she received a Gold Prize in the Digital  Innovator Teacher of The Year category from The Pearson National Teaching Awards in the UK) and if we speak about my concerns in this area, it’s a level of conformity there in schools, which is translated to the wider society. It affects not just the subjects that the students are learning, but also it affects their personalities. And when they leave, that’s when they conform and that’s when you have this mainstream thought about everything. It could be a mainstream thought about childbirth. Children go for this brainwashing for 12-13 years, and that’s my main kind of concern. Education works and it probably serves a bigger agenda on a government level, people follow the rules and conform. Otherwise, everyone would have independent opinions, which is probably not good when you have a big society. You want to instill laws and certain things and you want people to follow this and that. So, there are lots of alternative schools out there, with lots of different models, but even within that you still have some kind of system and some kind of conformity. It depends on what kind of value you want to instill in children but more mainstream schools are going to instill more mainstream opinions. It’s just the way it’s set up. So, I would like to see change, but I don’t know how, because again, I think the values within the system need to change and then you can do it from within. As a teacher working in a school, that has been a challenge the last few years. I see it and I’m contributing to it and I’m part of it. I know I can’t change it. As a young teacher, you say, you can change everything but no, you can change things to a certain degree but you can’t really change the system from within, no matter what you do. Unless everyone does it, with a greater consciousness and greater desire to change the values, it’s gonna continue this way. I like creating things and seeing something out of nothing. You have an idea and you manifest it. I think it’s again linked to my childhood. Artwork or any idea and you actually make it and it comes into a physical realm, it’s quite exciting to me. CHALLENGES OF MOTHERS The main challenge for mothers is having a community of like-minded people. It’s good to have remote support groups as well but having the support network present, people actually holding your baby, when you need to run out for something, and helping with different things. In modern societies, I think, this is the biggest challenge. That is linked also to information sharing about parenting and related things, that you wouldn’t get if you lived in isolation. People live by themselves, some people might have grandparents but it doesn’t mean they are present or helpful. Traveling made that even more challenging because you have to restart and meet people again and it takes months to find like-minded people. It affects you more in terms of your time, and your well-being, you have less time for yourself because you have less support. A lot of it has to do with time. You can’t be with your child 24/7, because that is really draining. When the village is not there for you, you have to compromise more. I think there needs to be support for breastfeeding for sure. Some places do it better than others. Australia was great for this but in Georgia, breastfeeding support is non-existent. I gave birth in a hospital in Australia but I had midwives and lactation consultants coming to our house for three months after I gave birth, checking if everything was ok and they were helping constantly. It was all set up within the system. Education about pregnancy and breastfeeding needs to be provided before and after labor both for mothers and fathers. For fathers as well, because this change challenges them as well. Having men’s groups where fathers could meet would be of great support. If you instill that type of support in hospitals and even on a government level, people will meet naturally and communities and support networks will be formed out of that. Most people are guided by fear and that fear could be either judgmental towards other people or just to guide their life in a way that it affects their decision making. That translates into policy as well. The medical system is all fear-based. So it would be nice if people were more conscious and did a bit of research by themselves, to be less fearful, and to take on the chances as well. Especially in Georgia, I’ve observed that a lot of people are afraid of taking risks, their decisions seem to be guided by fear of something. They don’t take steps to do things, because this fear blocks them. I don’t know where it’s coming from. It could be the wars and history. I’m not saying that it’s not in other countries but it’s definitely present here. Maybe living in a small country and not being able to travel and see what’s out there is generating this fear. France’s medical system was amazing in terms of ease of use and affordability. In Australia, we had really good access to alternative practitioners. In Ireland, we had an amazing kindergarten for our daughter and it was funded by the government so we didn’t have to pay anything. In countries where we lived the support systems were not necessarily built into the policy but they did exist. I find it a bit concerning to have my childbirth planned in Georgia, but I know what I can ask for, what to accept, and what to decline. I have worked with a doula before and I have done some research. I feel ready but I don’t agree with how things are here, and I think it should be different in terms of support for childbirth. I don’t understand why it’s only done in hospitals and why there is not more support around childbirth, “alternative” options that you have in many countries don’t exist here. Even in third world countries, it feels like you have more options for natural birth than in Georgia. In this way, it feels a little bit backward. I don’t know if it’s a political thing or why aren’t those options available around birthing and breastfeeding. In the US, for example, you can still birth at home and then you go and register it. But here you can’t birth at home. If it happens by accident, then you have to go to the hospital anyway to register so you can’t have it registered anywhere else. So either way you end up in the hospital. Why? My friend in Australia had a home birth and after a week she just registered the birth certificate by mail. It just puts more stress unnecessarily, it feels like there’s something odd in the whole approach. How do people who live in the villages and mountains give birth? Do they come down to hospitals in advance? There are a lot of strange things that I’m still observing and questioning. I’m working on multiple projects for next year. I want to open my business. I definitely want to do an exhibition here as well. I’m putting things in motion, not waiting for the baby to be born. It’s becoming a bit harder as the labor’s approaching. Now I have an article coming out in England about the work I was doing at the school, that’s linked to an award that I received. Depending on what type of baby it is and how things go with breastfeeding, I might do workshops here. I do prefer working online though. I did a course a few months ago, about how to make art using AI. It was aimed at teachers and librarians, helping them to integrate AI into the curriculum but also the ethics, how to address it, and what to do with it. The course went very well, so I might continue with online workshops.

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