Cape Town Comes to Vermont23 January 2015
On a chilly winter morning in Vermont, students and professors from the Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Middlebury College gathered around a monitor to meet two inspiring women located in m2m’s headquarters in summery Cape Town – Mentor Mother and spokeswoman Queen Mda and Nozi Samela, m2m’s Communications Associate who is a former Mentor Mother and client. Through Skype, Queen and Nozi lead two back-to-back workshops as part of the Annual January Symposium of Social Entrepreneurship that brings together members of the College community, interested area residents, and leaders from around the world in social entrepreneurship.
Queen and Nozi first shared their experiences of being diagnosed HIV positive while pregnant and the fear and devastation they felt at the time. It was m2m Mentor Mothers who helped both of them understand that HIV was not a death sentence, and that they could protect their babies from HIV transmission and stay healthy. They told the students what inspired them to become Mentor Mothers and help other HIV-positive women facing similar challenges.
The students engaged them on a wide range of topics, including what happens to a child who tests positive for HIV, how Mentor Mothers engage male partners, and how m2m is supporting Option B+ in Africa which puts pregnant women on anti-retroviral drugs for life.
That evening, m2m Founder Dr. Mitch Besser participated in a keynote conversation at the Symposium titled, “Communities Caring for Communities: A Vision for Better Health Care” with Pam Benerbaum, Coordinator of Global Health Programs at Middlebury. He was then presented with the CSE Vision Award, which recognizes leadership and vision in the world of social entrepreneurship. Also participating in the four day Symposium was David Torres, the Director of Business Development for m2m and a Middlebury graduate.