Merck Foundation together with First Lady of Malawi,introducing an inspiring story of Limbani and Takondwa



Enjoy Reading the Limbani's Story

A Message from Dr Rasha Kelej

As an African woman and the CEO of Merck Foundation, I am very proud to introduce this inspiring story of Limbani and Takondwa.
In many cultures, childless women still suffer discrimination, stigma and ostracism. An inability to have a child or to become pregnant can result in being greatly isolated, disinherited or assaulted. This often results in divorce or physical and psychological violence.

Therefore, we have created “Merck More than a Mother” campaign with the aim to define many interventions to empower infertile women through access to information, health and change of mind-set. this story is one of these interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention and male infertility.

It’s important for parents and caregivers to start teaching respect and nurturing empathy from a very young age. We should teach boys these qualities at their schools and through media. I believe both boys and girls need the same kind of guidance.

Just like girls, young boys gradually learn how to control their behavior during their pre-school and elementary school years. This story is our way to empower our boys to develop true respect for women andknow few facts about Infertility prevention and how it affects both men and women equally.

Reading Limbani’s story will teach our children to respect and value all people Regardless of being parents or not. It will also help preparing our children for tomorrow with the right family values of love and respect. Everyone deserves respect and love, and should never ever be overlooked or, worse, abused —even if they are childless.

I hope you will understand the story’s message “Having a child, takes both a man and a woman, everywoman is more than a Mother, Every man is more than a Father “.

Enjoy reading Limbani’s story…

Dr. Rasha Kelej
CEO of Merck Foundation
President of Merck more than a Mother


As the First Lady of Malawi and ambassador of “Merck More Than a Mother” campaign, I am very happy to share with you this inspiring story of Limbani and Takondwa.

As you all know, in many cultures, childless women still suffer discrimination, stigma and ostracism.

It is sad to know that women are blamed for infertility, although 50% of infertility are due to men. We need to encourage men to speak up and discuss their infertility issues openly and know that fertility is a shared responsibility.

One in every four couples in developing countries suffer infertility. this prevalence rate is high indeed. Majority of infertility cases can be due to untreated infectious disease, such as Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Genital mutilation, unsafe abortion, and unsafe delivery, hence prevention is very important, and this is one of the main objectives of the campaign.

Therefore, I am very happy to work closely with Merck Foundation to empower women and raise awareness among our communities, with special focus on the youth (girls and boys) through this story, to know how to prevent infertility, how to protect themselves and also how to value themselves whether they are mothers or not. Women are more than just mothers, they are productive members in society and should be respected.

This story is part of the ‘Merck More than a Mother’ campaign which is very close to my heart. I hope you will understand the message behind it. I believe we must prepare our children for tomorrow with the right family values of love and respect.

Having a child, takes both a man and a woman, every woman is more than a mother, every man is more than a father.

The First Lady of the Republic of Malawi

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About Merck Foundation

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 to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flicker.

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Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 52,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma.