Celebrating Mothers Around the World

By Alyssa Evans, WAR, In’tl Intern

Women At Risk, International (WAR, Int’l) celebrates motherhood year round by caring for women and children in need of love and acceptance. Through our partnering safehouses, vocational programs, and orphanages, we strive to provide nurturing environments for these individuals as they recover from risk and trauma. Becky McDonald, President and Founder of WAR, Int’l, often notes that our partners serve as “Mommies to the Mommyless.” For WAR, Int’l and our partners, mothering and nurturing at-risk people all over the world makes Mother’s Day all the more meaningful. Knowing just how valuable mothers are in each culture across the world, we decided to take a closer look at the diverse ways they are celebrated.

The oldest Mother’s Day traditions date back to the ancient Egyptians, who celebrated the Goddess Isis, Mother of the Pharaohs. In modern day Egypt, they celebrate “Eed omm sa-eed” on March 21, the first day of spring. Yet Mother’s Day around the world is celebrated on different days according to the holiday’s origins in that country.

American mothers will be celebrated this year on May 14. Mother’s Day was first proposed in the United States by Anna Reeves Jarvis and Julia Ward Howe out of a desire to unite mothers who had lost sons in the Civil War. Jarvis’s daughter, Anna M. Jarvis, later lobbied for six years to create a national day of recognition for mothers. Mother’s Day became an official holiday in the United States in 1914.

Canadian Mother’s Day is also held on the second Sunday in May and is said to be the country’s third most popular holiday, right after Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Card sales and phone calls are the highest on Mother’s Day.

Feliz Día de las Madres, celebrated in Mexico on May 10, is the busiest day of the year for restaurants. Mothers are given flowers and serenades from mariachi bands. The most popular song to celebrate the day is “Las Mañanitas”:

I would like to be a little ray of sunlight/ To enter through your window
And greet you with Good Morning/ Lying in your bed
Of the stars in the heavens/ I have to bring down two
One is to greet you/ And the other is to say good-bye.

In the United Kingdom, “Mothering Sunday” is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent and originated in the 1600s in England. Fasting rules were set aside for that day, when mothers were given freshly picked wildflowers and special Simnel cakes baked with fruits and almonds.

In Japan, “Haha no Hi” is now celebrated on the second Sunday of May, just like in the United States, but it originally was held on Empress Koujun’s birthday. Today, Japanese mothers are given flowers, and children draw pictures of their mothers and enter them into contests.

Mother’s Day in South Africa also coincides with the North American celebration on the second Sunday of May. Mothers and Grandmothers are celebrated as life givers, and their sacrifices for their families are recognized by reversing family roles for the day. Children bring their mothers breakfast in bed and do the chores all day. Here they take the tradition of giving flowers a step further: everyone wears flowers in honor of the holiday.

All around the world, mothers have a special day when they are recognized and appreciated. No matter where or on what day you celebrate Mother’s Day, it seems that moms everywhere appreciate baked goods and meals, songs, jewelry, flowers, cards, and homemade gifts. When you shop for your own mother this week, consider visiting the WAR Chest Boutique, online or at one of our three Midwest locations. There you will find jewelry, accessories, chocolate, coffee, and other gifts mothers will love. When you honor your mother with a meaningful gift from our Boutique, you also help provide a woman or child with an opportunity to be “mothered” by our partners and programs.

Information for this article was gathered from a variety of sources, including Mother’s Day.


Acoustic Mic Nights

Join the Tea Trade Cafe for a 12-week summer music series every Thursday night from June 8th to August 24th. These evenings will feature amazing local artists, as well as our full menu including fresh sandwiches, wraps, and salads, along with artisan coffees and teas. These events are free! Not only will your attendance support local musicians, but also make an impact on the fight against human trafficking right here in West Michigan.

Every Thursday Night

June 8th – August 24th
6:30 – 8:30
Tea Trade Cafe
2790 44th St SW
Wyoming, MI 49519

Full Line Up


June 8th: 2DOGS
June 15th: Eden Witvoet
June 22nd: No performance due to special event
June 29th: Jesse Bolinder
July 6th: Elizabeth Thomas
July 13th: Jim Novak & Paul Cerny
July 20th: Aaron Wienss
July 27th: Kaitlyn Zittel
Aug. 3rd: Daniel Holland
Aug 10th: Carrie Steffen

Book Drive

By Brittany Jacobson, WAR, Int’l Staff Writer

When Women At Risk, International comes alongside an organization, particularly a safehouse, we immediately address the needs they may have. Whether they are searching for someone to furnish a room, purchase specific items for their residents, or cover their team in prayer, our goal is to support them in the most holistic way possible.

Recently, we joined forces with Cherished Heights out of California. This survivor-led program takes a comprehensive approach to the recovery of victims of human trafficking. Its mission is to walk alongside women who have survived the trauma associated with exploitation as they go through their individual journeys of healing. This program equips and empowers them to live healthy, flourishing lives while becoming productive citizens within their communities.

Not only does Cherished Heights provide a residential program for victims of human trafficking, but also weekly support groups for survivors, and employment through the creation of jewelry, clothing, candles, paintings and spa products. This safehouse has a trained outreach team visiting local strip clubs each week, as well. Through small gifts and invitations to their support groups, they remind women how valued and loved they truly are.

We have taken on Cherished Heights as a partner of our organization, committing to assist the program in its areas of need. In this case, Cherished Heights hopes to fill a brand new library with Christian books that will uplift, inspire, and encourage the women in its program.

If you have new or very gently used Christian fiction, Christian Living, or devotional books, please send them or bring them to our headquarters at 2790 44th St SW, Wyoming, MI 49519. We have a collection box in the Volunteer Center of our building as well, and you are welcome to drop off any book donations there.

We also have an Indian partner who is need of classic, English language literature. This elite high school is teaching students about the significance of reading, and is looking to expand their growing library. We are interested in receiving works by classic writers including Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, or Joseph Heller, to name a few.

This book drive for both partners will run from May 1st to May 31st, and we hope to collect as many books as possible! We welcome your donations in person or via shipping to our offices.

If you have any questions about your book donation or this book drive please contact our headquarters at (616) 855-0796, or email us at info@warinternational.org. Thank you so much for partnering with us in this way! With your gifts, you are creating a healing environment for victims of human trafficking.


Please note:

If we receive an abundance of the same titles, we will distribute them to other safehouses and at-risk women in our partnering programs. Also, due to the number of books we anticipate receiving throughout this drive, we are unable to provide the funds to cover the cost of shipping books to our headquarters. We greatly appreciate your understanding in this matter and look forward to blessing these programs with your help!