Celebrating Moms Around the World

As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s our privilege to honor some of the powerful moms who are making a difference while raising the next generation of leaders. Like so many, these women are leading change around the world while serving as inspirations at home.

Take a look at a few of the women in our programs who dedicate their careers to improving their communities as they raise their children to do the same.

“If children think something sounds impossible, but they see their mom doing it, then they can do it too.”

—Dr. Mwansa Ketty Lubeya, Obama Foundation Africa Leader


In Zambia, Africa Leader DR. MWANSA KETTY LUBEYA works as a gynecologist to treat cervical cancer and improve women’s health, while caring for her five children.

“Being a mom is a strength. It’s a reason to give. I have these little people that I see, from day one, have so much hope and confidence in me. They believe in me and help push me forward.”

“Children think, ‘If my mom can achieve this so can I. If my mom is working to change the world, so can I.'”

—Veronica Crespin-Palmer, Obama Foundation Fellow


Obama Fellow VERONICA CRESPIN-PALMER is working to ensure that marginalized communities have access to a quality education. “I want to thank my mother and grandmothers for being powerful examples of working women.”

“My mom was the first Latina vice president at her credit union and watching her break down those barriers was everything to me. For my grandmothers, one was in a gang, but eventually graduated college and became a social worker. The other overcame poverty and made a life for herself. Shoutout to these strong women for holding it down for my family. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”


“I want my son to be surrounded by love so he can spread love too. All I want is for him to be happy.”


—Alice Barbe, Obama Foundation Scholar

Obama Scholar ALICE BARBE is developing communities in France where refugees can meet each other to create meaningful connections and friendships. “Sometimes society tells us that women should either work or stay home, but that’s not the case for many. My son came to my TED talk and wouldn’t leave my arms.”

“My son has grown up with people from all nationalities because of my work in the refugee field, so there’s a lot of hope for him. Refugees are often separated from their family, and we work together to create a new one in host countries.”


“As I see them grow into mature adults, I see them becoming.”

—Ana Maria Gonzalez-Forero, Obama Foundation Scholar


In Colombia, Obama Scholar ANA MARIA GONZALEZ-FORERO works to ensure sustainable development for indigenous communities. “I hope that I embody the dreams, expectations, and values my three mother figures had for me. They all were a force of nature, who inspired what I do to address poverty and inequality in my country. But I’m especially fierce because of my grandmother who taught me to be fearless.”

Since moving to New York from Colombia, Ana Maria has found a new connection with her two children in their curiosity for the world. “I like the age that my kids are now. There’s a depth to the way we see things that I really enjoy.” See more on Ana Maria.

“Being a mom means being sleep-deprived, showered with love, showered with throw up and being equally okay with both of that.”

—Preethi Herman, Obama Foundation Fellow


Obama Fellow PREETHI HERMAN is dedicated to helping women in India make their voices heard. And this year, she’s celebrating her first Mother’s Day as a mom. “Being a mom means so many things—and I think I will continue to discover that for the rest of my life. It’s looking at the situation you’re in and laughing at yourself. It’s all of the extremes.”

“My daughter has been the biggest blessing in my life. She pushes me to dip into all of my reserves of love, happiness, and patience, while making me realize how much I have to give.” Read more about Preethi.

“I realized that I’m responsible for the world he’s growing up in. Whether I’m protecting wildlife or climate change, it’s all for him.”

—Hong Hoang, Obama Foundation Scholar


Obama Foundation Scholar HONG HOANG studies at Columbia University to strengthen and improve her work mobilizing youth leaders to push for environmental preservation in Vietnam. “In Vietnam my son wouldn’t let me go when I went to work. But I was happy because I got to spend valuable time with him. Now that I’m studying in New York for a bit, we’re long distance.”

“The one thing my mom hoped for me was to be happy. I think this is what all moms want for their children. Every time I call her she asks, ‘Are you happy? Are you happy?’ So the same goes for me. As long as my son is happy, healthy and a good person, I’m happy too.” Read more about Hong.


“As moms, you can’t be perfect. The most important thing is to make progress.”

—Edem Dorothy Ossai, Obama Foundation Scholar


Obama Scholar EDEM DOROTHY OSSAI cares for her 4-year-old daughter while going to school, and working in child advocacy. “I must build a world where my daughter and the next generation can have the tools and resources to make a difference, so they can participate in a more meaningful way to build Africa.”

“I make mistakes all the time, but I tell myself to focus on the things that I’m doing right. Parenting is a skill.” Read more about Edem.