A chat with Russell Kane about Mothers 2 Mothers

Russell Kane talks with Mary Christine and baby Richard (18 months) after his final HIV test. After enrolling in the Mother 2 Mothers programme during her pregnancy, she came to the clinic and followed the advice of the Mentor Mothers and, as a result, baby Richard will live a live free from HIV. (photographer Alexander Walker) .

A few years ago I saw the work that Mothers 2 Mothers do in Kenya first hand.  I have never forgotten it.  Or the families we met.  I follow the charity on Instagram and Twitter and follow the work they are continuing to do.   And that work is very simple.  It is not complicated or contrived, it is honest, and simple.  Empowering.  Life changing.  And life saving.   Mothers living with HIV are trained to become Mentor Mothers who counsel and support other mothers recently diagnosed to be as healthy as they possibly can be.   To educate women in clinics that just because they may be HIV positive, their unborn child doesn’t need to be, that cross infection is avoidable.

These mothers then explain and educate their husbands too and within their communities the word is spread about how to lead safer sex lives, and healthier lives all around.  The results are extraordinary and therefore the rates of HIV cases are dropping at a remarkably fast rate.

If I could give up work and have a gap year, this is where I would go.  I would go and live in Kenya to live with these extra ordinary families.

One of my posts about the trip is here:  Mothers 2 Mothers , and I will always be grateful to Comic Relief for making the trip happen, and to everybody in Kenya for making us feel so welcome. 

Which is why when I heard that one of the events Comic Relief was doing this year was the #RedNoseConvoy I sat up straight and paid attention.  A group of celebrities would be driving trucks across Africa, delivering equipment right to where it is needed.  Bicycles to a group that use them like ambulances to get out to people in the bush that need medical attention, beds to a hospital, mosquito nets to help stop the spread the malaria, and a visit to Mothers 2 Mothers.    I pretty much cleared my diary for the day I knew they would be there so I could follow updates on line.    I say follow, I mean stalk.  I stalked Katy Brand and Russell Kane who went off to meet the teams there, as well as the Red Nose Day Twitter account and Instagram feed.

I was in bits by the end of the day, full of admiration for all the project is doing, and more importantly for what the women are doing for themselves, and their own communities.   It was clear too that Katy and Russell were also clearly taken with what they were witnessing first hand too.

So I was thrilled with Comic Relief in London asked if would like to chat to Russell Kane about his visit, by putting questions to him about the day so that he could tell us in his own words what the project does, and the difference small amounts of money donated will make.

You can listen here:

Do keep an eye out for their documentary on the BBC or follow #RedNoseConvoy online for further updates on when you can see the team’s week long trip.

Russel Kane, Hugh Dennis, David Baddiel, Katy Brand, Reggie Yates and Michaela Coel set off on the Red Nose Convoy travelling from Nairobi to Tororo in Uganda.

But on Saturday it will be those families in Kenya that I am thinking about as I do our ten mile walk in London, a walk we are calling The Honk Line.   In my wedding dress.

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