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Mother-machine my strength!

Day in and day out, the lovely rhythm of the motor -
lulling us to sleep and giving us comfort.
My lovely mother and her sewing machine:
earned the clothes we wore; earned the food we ate;
the source of protection over our head;
earned us education that put us way ahead.

Day in and day out – she labored,
stitching clothes for the entire neighborhood.
Some days, it was agonizing to watch her ache yet smile -
her dozing at the machine trying to meet deadline.
Some days, it was simply joyful to watch -
her creativity in the designs and the elegant lines.

Such creativity – yes! In her eyes I saw ambition.
None came true! I saw it, despair and outrage!
Chanelling that to educate her girls – her new ambition.
Such fervor, such support she gave – I stop and inhale.
No wonder I see pride in her eyes when ‘we’ stand with her tall.

Today, I am who I am thanks to the sewing machine
and my adorable mother who loved her machine.
Seven children she raised with love and care and hard work.
The eldest daughter of the mother-machine hates that machine!
Learned its tricks helping out – yet, hate it with such fervor …

It broke her backbone – hours and hours the mother sat over it.
Some days it just stopped her from getting her pay;
breaking itself – forcing hungry kids to pray.
Clever mother does not let her machine sulk -
With her screw drivers – she pecks at it until it yields.
The despair in her kind eyes while she pecks -
broke my then-teenage heart; made me work hard.

This love-hate relationship with the machine! -
changed face only a few times through three decades.
The machine sits proud in our home -
i dread it all the same – yet idolize it to no end :)

My mother my strength! The machine her strength!
She is one with her machine. Today in her late 50s -
one hell of a creative designer she is – just like in the 80s.
Pulling out cute little dresses from under the blade!
Blade of her machine – for her darling daughters-grand!
No more laboring over it for money – but only for the joy it gives.

P.S. Image source: and

This is a poem I attempted some months ago after we have had a discussion about how our childhood memories were associated with the sound of sewing machines with loved ones laboring over it.
And I wrote this one as a tribute to my lovely adorable mother. She is my strength. We don't say much in so many words. She has a gleam in her eyes, a pride in her voice, a smile on her lips when she talks to me. If I am strong, I am strong for her. I would never want her to know what I put up with.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »



Rebecca R's picture

Love it

I love so many parts of this, with so much feeling.

I think I should come back later to post a more coherent comment.

For now, I love love love every bit of this piece. Great job, Aminah!

Aminah's picture

So generous with your feedback :)

you people are amazing.

Do come back. That soars my spirit.



bhavna's picture

Oh Gosh!

Oh Aminah, dear Aminah, what is it you are doing? You are unstoppable! You have stitched that words to form such a gorgeous apparel. While reading I was able to visualize your lovely mother and the little Amianh, lulling to sleep. Very heart touching! Salute the lady, your mother, who has brought up a fine woman like you, through such hardship. Much respect and love.


Aminah's picture

such generous compliments :)

I salute her every day, every moment of my life.

It is true, I get very emotional and am not able to form words when I am face to face with her. we have our own silent way of saying what we want. Even thinking about her, my eyes well up - my throat chokes,

I guess we feel so emotional because of the hardship that we have lived through. Us being such a poor family, and me being the eldest from her first husband, she had to put up with my step father and his attitudinal issues. Her story of struggle is a totally different one and will take some more writing to express it in full.

For now, this poem is her and her dedication to her children.
And is a little effort to understand why I stay strong even in the face of cruelty. I get strength from her example.



ikirimat's picture

Aminah, What an awesome way

What an awesome way of honoring you mother.
The way you write and select your words is so captivating. You are a good writing skills are good and I wish you the best in raising your voice.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."

Aminah's picture

that is so very sweet

Dear Ikrimat.

This is what I am saying. All the comments here are so generous and so heartfelt.
It's like a community of like minded, kind hearted, lovely people. It would be so great if the entire humanity is like this.

And I am sure, it can happen if we keep doing this. spreading the love.

thank you,


pelamutunzi's picture


this poem touched my heart. the machine is a symbol that represents any tools used by women to give love and life to their children. however difficult it is done with love care concern because of the vision of the future that our mothers have. I can see my own mother in this poem too and all those years of love and care. I will fight till the end to keep her memory alive cause unlike yours my mom is gone and yet I hav so much to say especially to tell her that I understand and to show what she means to me and that my childhood years were the best though strewn with hardships.
thnks for striking such a reaction in me

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.

Aminah's picture

That's like the best comment ever.

So glad I was able to capture my mother as well as your mother in this one poem.

I am not trying to belittle men. But women seem to have more inner strength more courage to actually live through even hardships. No matter how much atrocities happen, women usually seem to be able to keep on going, at least for the sake of the kids or other commitments.
I hope and pray we continue to grow stronger and also become more empowered to stop verbal, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. We need men to come on board and let us know their feelings and thoughts and their innermost demons.

To your mom, my mom, and every other mom out there. You simply rock.



pelamutunzi's picture


it has actually been proven through women's experiences in Zimbabwe. if you are orphaned its better if your mother is the surviving parent if its father chances are that your life will be hard and you wil not go to school. I lived with my aunt after my mother's death and if there was no food in the house my uncle was prepared to see us sleep hungry but my aunt could not even imagine. due to the nature of her work my aunt at times left and had to make sure we had all provisions. my uncle if we told him something had run out would ask us to call our mother and tell her. so its true under hardships women will care for their children many men when faced with the same situations in my society woud then make it worse by being unfaithful and blamimg it on stress. what we need are women who will not tolerate this but I have discovered something men are free to do what they want and they do but women are never free. they are forces which force them to do what they do.
men should be engaged least we fight the wrong demos and still remain in the same place.

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.

Yes. It bothers me too.
Men are free to do what they please, while women have to think a hundred time over before she does what she wants to do.
It shouldn't be like that.
We are all human, we have our desires our wants.

Keep talking girl


pelamutunzi's picture

Freedom of choice

because of our children everything we do we think first of its impact on family whilst men simply do what they want regardless of what's best for the family. sometimes I feel the unfairness when you see a woman carrying a baby, holding another crying one in her hand whilst balancing a bag on her head whilst the husband is carrying nothing. what quality of life can you get. surely the man can not even carry his children or the bag and at home wife still has to do chores and fulfil wifely duties. seriously!!!

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.

Greengirl's picture

How can I miss this Aminah?

You are so, so poetic. It just flows right through you. I bet you can tell any story using poetry. I just want to read through it over and over again. Your generosity in sharing this makes me want to give you a million hugs because there is so much to learn there in. I am inspired, motivated, stimulated, enlightened, sensitized, reinvigorated, encouraged! I could go on and on Aminah, your ingenuity is striking and cannot but be noticed.

God bless your mum and all she stood and still stands for. Hugs to you!


Now, that comment deserves a million likes and stars and hugs.

You don't know how much energy your words put in me.
Of late I have been feeling so down, so demoralized, so unloved and so alone, so lost, not knowing what to do, where to turn. I love my mother to bits hence have never been able to tell her of my heartaches. She has had enough of her own without adding mine on that. I want the rest of her life to be spent happy knowing she has given birth to and cared for a woman of strength and confidence. A woman who could make the impossible possible. That's what I have been trying to do. But in the process I have become selfish and started to want happiness. True happiness. To be loved to be cherished. To be respected. anyways. that is going on a sad path. For now I want to be happy.

Ever since I started this VOF program, I don't know where my time is going. Days are flying and I am getting so much done.

Keep the love flowing and spread it wide.
I need it, I want it. I need that hug :)



Greengirl's picture

Yes you can edit your comment

I am so sorry my comment made you bare out more than you would have wanted. Haha! Yes, you can edit your comment. Go back and view the comment you submitted. Below the comment, you will find to links/words in blue font: "Edit" and "Reply". You just go ahead and click on "Edit ". Once you get it right, please give me a buzz so I could get on my dancing shoes and celebrate you once again.

I would also like you to read my poetry submission titled "Woman Unleashed". May be it would do so magic!

I care!


Aminah's picture

Sometimes we forgot to hit

Sometimes we forgot to hit the reply button when we are actually replying to someone's comment.
That's what happened with me - and the reply I wrote to you ended up right below And I wanted to delete that one. But in the process I ended up copy pasting the same comment twice :)

So yes, I edited it out. But cannot see anyway how I can totally remove that comment.

Thanks for the instruction on Editing. You can definitely get your dancing shoes on and I will join you (not that I know how to dance lol). But still I can hop around, do some twists and shriek on top of my voice and laugh heartily. :)

And I absolutely relished your poetry. I now am an unleashed woman :D
Thanks for the love.



Aminah's picture

should not be seeing this here :)

is there any way to delete a comment I made?


Greengirl's picture

Yes You can edit your comment

I am so sorry my comment made you bare out more than you would have wanted. Haha! Yes, you can edit your comment. Go back and view the comment you submitted. Below the comment, you will find to links/words in blue font: "Edit" and "Reply". You just go ahead and click on "Edit ". Once you get it right, please give me a buzz so I could get on my dancing shoes and celebrate you once again.

I would also like you to read my poetry submission titled "Woman Unleashed". May be it would do some magic!

I care!


Sangita Thapa's picture

No doubt!

There's just no doubt that you are your mother's pride, Aminah! You are such a committed daughter, who has tremendous feelings for her mother. And more than that, you recognize that she did it all for you. All mothers are Great but not all daughters are so adorable. Your love for your mother speaks volumes about our own stories of love, respect and thousands of emotions we share with our mothers. I too have immense love for my mother and I salute your poem for depicting it so poetically, so powerfully. Thanks for posting it!

That's so sweet Sangita.

Life was not too good for her. She was, and even now she is, a hardworking person. She cannot sit idle. She has to do something with her hands. She is so very creative and loves adventure. But it broke my heart to see that she was trapped in a marriage that did not give her that freedom. It broke my heart to see that her dreams were not being fulfilled. I vowed to do my best to give her adventure and a to fulfill her dreams. She knows she only has to ask I will get it for her. She doesn't ask though. But I am glad I have made some dreams come true. I just get too emotional when I even think about her. I get tongue tied :)

Anyways. thanks for the support, for the lovely comment for my mother as well as for my poem. I feel really really humbled.



Sangita Thapa's picture

yes dear sister!

Dear Aminah, i have immense respect for your mother and for you too. Its really heartbreaking that she couldnt lead her life, her ambitions as she wanted. But then, its equally praiseworthy that she became an inspiration to her family, her children. She now has a reason to smile and see the world through you! Im sure you'll make her proud and forget her hardships.God bless!

Anita Muhanguzi's picture

Wow Wow Wow

Dear Aminah,
You speak from your heart and that is what makes you such a special person. Please continue to post these inspiring and touching stories. We are here for you, well as you said we are your arteries. God bless your mother for looking after all of you. She is a very special woman. Stay blessed my dear sister.

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Head of Legal and Advocacy
Centre for Batwa Minorities
Skype: mrs_muhanguzi

Thank you for the time to read and comment dear Anita.

I guess our mothers are just great. I have never heard about a mother who does not wish and do great things for her children. But then again, some mothers are extra extra special.


Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti's picture

Thank you for your work


You hopefully have seen by now that your words speak to so many of us. You have a beautiful way with words, and I think you do your mother and her diligence great honor with this piece.

Some of my favorite moments in the poem include:

"Day in and day out, the lovely rhythm of the motor -
lulling us to sleep and giving us comfort."
The motor is both the literal sound of the sewing machine and the motor of your mother's efforts and perpetual dedication to your family. Lovely!

"In her eyes I saw ambition.
None came true! I saw it, despair and outrage!"
Personal goals denied, the reader understands that your mother instead focused on the well-being and opportunities for her daughters. A powerful moment, where her loss becomes your gain.

"The machine sits proud in our home -
I dread it all the same – yet idolize it to no end"
There is an interesting simultaneous emotionality expressed here; you are thankful for the work your mother completed which allowed you to go to school and have the opportunities associated with education, but also hated it because it represented hard and unforgiving work.

I truly enjoyed reading your piece, and am recommending it be promoted on the World Pulse platform. Thank you!
All the best,

Thank your for that wonderful feedback Elizabeth.
As I had said earlier too, I never thought my words had such impact. But I am starting to believe, I am good at writing :)
I am very humbled by the appreciative, supportive comments.

And it is so great that you are able to see more meaning in my words.
I have to be honest and admit that I did not do that consciously. But when you explain it so nicely, I agree that those are the same sentiments in my heart when I wrote those words.

It will be a honor to see this poem reaching a wider audience.
I have a wish to share it with my sisters and my mother too.
My sisters would understand each word. My mother would not. But I am sure she will be very happy to hear someone tell her what I wrote about her. I am just too emotional to share it directly with her.

Also, I am still a bit cautious about revealing my full identity because my inner most feelings are rolling out here in black letters. Nonetheless, I am sure many Maldivian (also other) daughters will be able to find their mother in this poem.

It would be a dream come true if this poem reached all those daughters and all the hardworking mothers.


Anais Tuepker's picture

beautiful poem

Dear Aminah,

I can only add my own thanks and admiration to those of the other women who have already commented. Your poem is a beautiful tribute to your mother. I loved the rhythm of the poem, like the rhythm of work, and the way that you seemed torn between hate for the machine and respect/stark acknowledgement of what it brought for you. That emotion was interesting to think about and came through strongly. I will read this again and enjoy it anew.

please keep writing and sharing! with very best wishes,

Aminah's picture

What a lovely comment Anais :)

It humbles me very much to hear such encouraging words.
It makes me happy to know you enjoyed it and that you were able to see my bittersweet love-hate relationship with that machine :)


jacquesato's picture

Keep writing!

Dear Amina:
You described beautifully your feelings about your mother and how she worked so hard to provide for your family. She's very creative and so you're are. I'm sure she must feel very proud of you :))


She is very creative. Not only as a seamstress. She does extremely well in whatever task she does.
She is a superb baker, An excellent short-eat (hot pastry) maker.
She does wonderful embroidery and she is a hell of a designer.
She can build perfect walls, make perfect furniture... she is just so very intelligent.
Pity she did not get the best environment to do all that.
Given the opportunity she would have made a good entrepreneur. I guess in her own was she was :)

I can only hope I have got some of her creativity.


jacquesato's picture


Your mother sounds amazing! I really admire people who can create things with their hands ;)


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