Windhoek, Namibia & Mumbai, Maharashtra, India:
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in partnership with The First Lady of Namibia and Ambassador of Merck More than a Mother, H.E. MONICA GEINGOS together with Ministry of Health & Social Service and Ministry of Education launched an inspiring children storybook of Paulus and Nangula for children to strengthen family values of love and respect from young ages.
The book has a special message from H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother addressed to the young readers.
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “I am very happy to launch together with The First Lady of Namibia, H.E. MONICA GEINGOS and Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health & Social Service, Merck Foundation’s children storybook to emphasize strong family values of love and respect from young age which will reflect on eliminating the stigma of infertility and the resulted domestic violence in the future. The story of Paulus and Nangula is a story of a husband and wife who couldn’t have children, but they never lost love or respect for each other, the husband supported his wife during the fertility treatment journey and acknowledged that he too can be the cause of infertility, he went for treatment to have a lovely baby and lived happily ever after. He also acknowledged that even if they both couldn’t bring children for any reason that they will still love and respect each other’s because they are more than parents.”
H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “I believe we must prepare our children for tomorrow with the right family values of love and respect. Childless women still suffer from discrimination and ostracism. The storybook speaks against stigmatization. Therefore, I am happy to work closely with Merck Foundation to empower women and raise awareness among communities with special focus on the youth (both and girls) through this story. Women are not just mothers; they are productive members in society and should be respected. This book will help disseminating this message to the children and youth of our nation.”
Dr. Rasha Kelej explained further, “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 and know few facts about Infertility and how it affects both men and women equally.”
“Reading Paulus’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,” concluded H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia.
The storybook was launched in a school in Windhoek, where a Theatre Group enacted the story for the audience.
Merck Foundation launched their programs in partnership with The First Lady of Namibia together with Ministry of Health & social Service and Ministry of Education to build equitable healthcare capacity, empower women & young girls and break the infertility stigma in the country.
Merck Foundation has been providing and will continue to provide training in the fields of Fertility, Diabetes and Cancer to Namibian doctors to build healthcare capacity in the country, Moreover, they will continue to train media to be able to sensitize the communities about breaking infertility stigma and empower childless women by providing information and awareness about the topic.
To read the Paulus’s story, please visit:
“Merck More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.
With “Merck More Than a Mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.
The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are:
|H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana||H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia||H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia|
|H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi||H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana||H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger|
|H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic||H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry||H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria|
|H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad||H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia||H.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra Leone|
|H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville||H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi||H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia|
|H.E. SYLVIA BONGO ONDIMBA, The First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo||H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique||H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe|
Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as;
- ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
- ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
- ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Film Awards
- Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
- Children storybook, localized for each country
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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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