Samina and Gulmina Mahmud (pictured above) crowd around the Ibu Studio conference table with our design and artisan projects teams, looking at fabrics, examining embroidery designs, and brainstorming exciting innovations to expand the SheWorks cooperative in Pakistan, which Samina founded in 2020. The mother-daughter duo traveled to Charleston to help us mark our tenth anniversary at Ibu's Fringe Revolution celebrations in March, where Samina was recognized as one of our 2023 Global Champions. Samina’s years of experience working directly with rural women in Pakistan are impressive, and Gulmina’s contributions to the discussion made it clear that her mother’s work had inspired and engaged her in this realm.
Working at Ibu, I am honored to meet and learn about mothers around the world who give generously of themselves to provide for their families. Many of these women live in communities where they are expected to oversee the household, cook meals, provide clothing, gather water, tend flocks… and they have realized that first, they must advocate for themselves. Between their roles of caring for the extended family, many of whom live together, and tending to the household chores, they manifest time to hone their crafts. Our artisan partners recognize that by earning an income for their skills, they gain power and respect, and the opportunity to change the horizon line for the next generation. And their sons and daughters see this impact, expanding the ripple effect.
Each spring, as Mother’s Day approaches, I begin to think about how to celebrate my mom and the other mother figures in my life. I often default to the Hallmark traditions: what gift to give, and whether we’ll have brunch or cocktails to toast the day. As a mother myself, I understand more than ever the thoughtful effort that my mom put forth to create a comfortable, creative, and adventurous childhood for me and my sisters while building a career of her own. I can look back and see how her choices made an impression on me, and even impacted my career path, and I want to applaud her example with more than a token gift.
Lasley Steever, and her mother, Justina Minifie.
The word Ibu translates to a woman of respect in the Malay language of Indonesia, and is used endearingly as an honorific for mothers and mother figures. Our Movement is powered by global women, often mothers, worthy of our respect. Many of our artisan partners work in climates where they fight an uphill battle, and yet they envision a different future won by their resilience and commitment to change, and empowered by a collective effort. I sense that these Ibus will not stop until they have autonomy of self, progress for their children, protection of their cultures and environments—a better world for us all.
So, let’s shower our mothers with love, affection, cards, gifts… the whole nine yards. And also, let’s celebrate them for the Ibus they are, the progress they have made, and the movement they continue to embody.
All the best,
Director of Community Engagement