In the same week of International Women’s Day, Merck Foundation launched the ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ theme song, to honor childless women across the world and acknowledge their value.
I strongly believe that art and media play significant roles in raising awareness about sensitive topics like infertility, hence will contribute significantly to break the stigma around infertile women in Africa, if utilized properly.
One of the great challenges today is that we often feel untouched by the problems of others, even when we can easily do something to help. Giving people access to data most often leaves them feeling overwhelmed and disconnected, not empowered and poised for action. This is where art can make a difference.
Art does not show people what to do, yet engaging them in meaningful work of art can connect them to themselves and their senses, body, and mind. It can make the problem felt, and this may stimulate emotion, engagement and action. All forms of art through various media channels can become effective tools to help in empowering childless women and change the social and cultural perception of infertility in general, and this is how we plan to use art and media to achieve our goals faster.
We decided to create this song in partnership with a female rising star from Sierra Leone, ROZZY, to tell the world the story of women who suffer infertility stigma in Africa and the possibility of transformation when they are empowered and guided to realize their purpose in life besides being just mothers. This is a creative intervention to advocate for those women against the discrimination, isolation and violence they face every day due to their inability to bear children, which is not fair.
What the song is about:The song is about a simple woman from Africa who dreamt of a beautiful and happy family with kids and a loving husband. But fate was not on her side since she couldn’t have a baby for many years. Obviously, it was a painful experience for her, especially when her husband, the man of her life abandoned then divorced her because of her inability to bear a child.
Infertility affects women and men equally, both husbands and wives should share the journey of fertility treatment to build a happy family - it is a shared responsibility. Rozzy’s husband however, never supported her and continuously blamed and abused her, like what happens every day to many women across Africa.
Broken and devastated, Rozzy lost all her hopes, until she met us, Merck Foundation, her life transformed entirely after getting empowered through ‘Merck More Than a Mother' campaign. Merck Foundation provided her with training, developed her skills and helped her to establish her small business to become independent, strong and happy.
Only when she discovered her purpose in life, she gained self-confidence and self-respect and knew how to reach her potential. She achieved the success she always deserved, not just professionally but in her personal life as well. She met the man of her dreams, the man who loves and respects her.
She got married for the second time, but this time is different, her husband supported her through the fertility treatment. He shared the responsibility with her which eventually paid off when they got blessed with a beautiful baby.
Finally, a happy family with a loving husband………..
And the story doesn’t end here, when her ex-husband met the new, confident, successful, and happy Rozzy, he tried to come back to her, but it was too late………. Who would want a man to like him back!
There are many Rozzies out there; we witness their stories of suffering and humiliation every day, it is time to act and make a change. It is unacceptable in the 21st century that women should suffer this injustice for something out of their hands.
This culture must change.
I call on all of you, partners, media, artists, followers, come back with better ideas, themes, songs, stories to help us to achieve our goal to empower childless women in Africa. Unlock your creativity, we can create much better than this song if we joined hands. It is just the beginning......
All artists and media persons out there, let’s join hands to make a change, Women are More than Mothers, a message must reach every door, every community, every mind and every hear.
Submit your ideas on firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Rasha Kelej
CEO of Merck Foundation
Merck foundation upholds their commitment to empower infertile women in Africa
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Merck Foundation Empowers the Childless Women through ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Across All Africa
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The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website. Please visit www.merck-foundation.com to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flicker.
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