Mothers to Daughters is an intergenerational women’s community with a mission to minimize the generational gaps in lived experiences between women among generations. We spoke with Francine Mbvoumbo, Founder and Strategic Leader, to find out more about them.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
Mothers to Daughters (M2D) is an intergenerational women’s community with a mission to minimize the generational gaps among women and help support establishing the women’s right to an equal future. M2D aims to intergenerational knowledge transfer by connecting the Mothers (Baby Boomers, Gen Xers) with the Daughters (Millennials, Gen Zers) around the globe and newcomers in Canada through educational programs, networking events, mentorship opportunities, and open idea exchanges. While Daughters are generally on the receiving end from Mothers- who are more experienced in life, career, and business, M2D’s goal is to foster a meaningful engagement since there is intersectionality where both generations can play the demand-supply roles.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Although we observe community organizations working in areas covering cross-gender, cross-cultural, and overall intergenerational communications, the specific topic of bridging intergenerational gaps concerning women is an area of minimal attention and information. Multigenerational and diverse knowledge transmission outside the immediate ecosystem- family, workplace, circle of friends is lacking. There is also an unease of access to leading and accomplished (older) generation of women by the fresher or younger generation. M2D focuses on these issues and strives to promote cohesiveness and knowledge transfer practices among all generations of women through informalizing the process and engaging in internal mobility outside the formal exclusive agenda. Together we hope to build an inclusive community towards a positive social change.
When did you start/join it?
We launched Mothers to Daughters in March 2020 on International Women’s Day. We only hosted our very first event on April 19th, 2020, following the pandemic hit. We were forced to adjust the original in-person plans to serve our community members online. We were solely an online community in 2020 and became a registered Non-profit in 2021.
What made you want to get involved?
M2D stemmed from the years of experience I went through being an immigrant myself in a foreign country without family. Being a woman, adjusting to a diverse culture, and having no backup support in the new country can be an ordeal that made me speak for most immigrants, especially. I conform with many experts who believe that collaboration, nurturance, care, strong ties to relationships, and connection with other women help shape a woman’s knowledge, identity, self-concept, and moral decision-making. When I joined the workforce, I naturally gravitated to older and more experienced women for life and career advice which utterly made a difference! They played a critical role in breaking the silence, growing the seed of confidence my parents had planted in me, and making me wiser, aware, and driven. However, I polled my diverse circle of friends and realized that many young women do not get the opportunity that I had to meet a relevant mentor to different challenges. Hence, I felt the need for a platform (M2D today) to raise awareness among the younger generation to step out of their comfort zone and build relationships with women outside their ecosystem.
What was the situation like when you started?
Mentoring was not a hot topic when I immigrated to Canada in 2010 when I joined uOttawa. I do not recall coming across that word or getting introduced to a multigenerational support program where you can from people of all ages. It may have existed, but it was not prominent enough. At the time, my friends nor I were engaged in any mentorship programs other than recreational clubs or class tutoring. It was primarily about integrating into the new country and studying hard to have outstanding grades.
How has it changed since?
Fast forward years later, the situation has noticeably changed, which warms my soul. There has been a lot of progress in mentorship programs over the years. I am glad to see schools incorporate a mentoring system for first-year students and encourage them actively. In the workforce, 90% of workers who have a mentor report being happy in their jobs. It speaks volumes about the impact of mentoring. There is also a hive of communities offering mentoring, including the government of Canada through organizations like Access Canada, etc. It is refreshing.
What more needs to be done?
Education plays a paramount role in young people’s formation. Intergenerational and diverse mentoring are even more so. Perhaps, cliche, but I firmly believe youth is the future. Exposing young women to a panoply of industry experts or experienced women will have a lasting impact. That being said, the school system should be more practical. Universities and colleges should continue to partner with non-profit organizations to expose students to a hive of diverse professionals that will provide insights into the workforce and share real stories.
How can our readers help?
I invite your readers to join our community to continue the conversation and amplify our outreach. We also take donations to support our cause and spread the word about our offerings, including our recently launched programs: Legacy Building Apprenticeship (a program that matches a Daughter with a Mother) and Guiding Lights (a program tailored for newcomers in Canada and introduces them to industry experts.) They can also register for our events and conferences to participate or/and join the team – we always welcome volunteers to support us.
Do you have any events coming up?
We just launched community 2 programs: Legacy Building Apprenticeship and Guiding Lights. Each program focuses on mentoring with a specific target audience. You can find out more by clicking on the embedded link. And even more exciting, after 2 years of virtual events, we are finally ready to host our first in-person event in collaboration with one of our partners – Immigrant Women in Business, and I will be among the keynote speakers. The event will focus on women empowerment and social impact and will take place at the Toronto City Hall. It is an event you don’t want to miss. You can register here.
Where can we follow you?
On social media or by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am glad to share the handles as follow:
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
The women’s shelter Nellies. Their mission to help women victims of oppressions such as poverty, violence, and homelessness is inspiring. Women and children are among the most vulnerable in society and worthy of our attention. The Mothers to Daughters team designed a month-long campaign in collaboration with Kits for a Cause to give back to them in honour of Mother’s Day last May. The goal for us was to remember the mothers living at the shelter who don’t get to celebrate this noteworthy celebration and bring a smile and hope into their lives. It was a mission accomplished.