NASHVILLE, TN — The work of Lwala Community Alliance is featured in two chapters of The Mother & Child Project: Raising our Voices for Health and Hope, which releases today – March 31. This book, published by Zondervan, is a collaboration of 42 essays by notable politicians, celebrities, pastors and global health advocates – including Hillary Clinton, Nicholas Kristof, Bruce Wilkinson and Jim Wallis – who are shining a light on the needs of women and children in the developing world as well as the need for tools to help families stay healthy and hopeful for a better future.
James Nardella, Executive Director of Lwala Community Alliance, contributed two chapters – one he co-authored with his wife Jena Lee Nardella, Co-founder of Blood:Water.
In their chapter “Baby Free Until 2013,” James and Jena write about their decision to wait on having children and how this reality is not something every woman or girl has the opportunity to make. “We believe young women should have the right to time their children rearing, to protect themselves against HIV, and to pursue healthy productive lives,” they write as they tell the story of a girl named Sarah, who became pregnant at age 14 when an older neighbor forced himself upon her during her Christmas break from school.
In his chapter “Men as Difference-Makers,” James shares that through this work he has learned the challenges women in a rural village face. “As a male, I now better understand that the barriers to maternal and child health care are not only resource barriers or technical barriers, but also moral and gender barriers.” He recounts the story of a woman named Vivian and the many challenges she faces to have healthy spacing and timing of her children, writing “This is a story about culture and about values, not just health care. When women are valued primarily for their childbearing and treated as ‘beasts of burden,’ there are consequences for health, education, and the economy.”
The Mother & Child Project book also features personal stories from women in other places like India, Uganda and Burundi and concludes with practical ways readers can get involved to save lives and see families thrive in the developing world. The digital audio book will be released next week and CDs will be available by mid-April. James Nardella as well as Rachel Held Evans and Natalie Grant read their chapters on the audio version.
The Mother & Child Project was compiled by Nashville-based Hope Through Healing Hands’ Faith-based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide, which seeks to galvanize faith leaders across the U.S. on the issues of maternal, newborn and child health in developing countries. Particular emphases include the benefits of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies that are harmonious with members’ unifying values and religious beliefs.
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