Two Galway women are in the running to be crowned Mum of the Year at a gala ceremony taking place next week.
Asylum seeker Siphthisiwe Moyo (41), who lives in Salthill, and Bronwen O’Malley, (29) from Connemara will find out on Monday 6th of July if they will be crowned with the title. A 12 member judging panel consisting of Norah Casey, Lisa Duffy, TV presenter, Nuala Carey and Blathnaid Ní Chofaigh will decide the winner.
Siphathisiwe Moyo’s life in Ireland has been a constant struggle but she has never given up hope for her or her three children. When she first came to Ireland in 2008 she was separated from both of her children for three years while arrangements were made for them to join her.
You can imagine being apart from our children for three years. I decided at that time I will fight and I will see my children and I did fight.
She is an active campaigner for the rights of asylum seekers with the Irish Refugee Council and is currently still waiting on the result of her own application from the Direct Provision system. She and her children live in a hotel room receiving a minimal sum of money to live on but the mum of three still remains positive for her children. “I always say to my children, even if we have nothing we have each other.”
And she has proved how much her determination has paid off when she was named African Woman of the Year 2014. Last year, she also sat the Leaving Certificate and she is about to begin a community development course at the NUI Galway.
Even though life has been tough, Siphathisiwe refused to give up on her goals and dreams, inspiring her daughter Victoria to put her forward for this special recognition. “I realised then there was no point sitting crying, I had to stand up and fight my way up and that’s when I did.”
On hearing her 17 year old daughter Victoria had successfully nominated her for Woman’s Way and Lidl Mum of the Year Awards, she was totally shocked. “I just couldn’t believe it, it came as a shock to me.”
Mum of three, Bronwen O’Malley meanwhile made it into the finals of the Mum of the Year awards through her sister Nicola’s heartfelt nomination.
She wrote that her sister “epitomises women everywhere, who try to fulfil motherhood with a career whilst always making time for others.”
Bronwen has juggled motherhood, education and work all throughout her twenties. She had to leave school early at 20 without a job and her first child on the way.
But her pregnancy sparked her passion for returning to education to retrain as a midwife whilst taking care of her newborn as a single mum. “It was the first time in my life I was proud of myself, I had never pushed myself academically before.”
Since then, she has squeezed in studying for her midwifery, exams, planning a wedding to her husband John, commencing her placement the day after her honeymoon and given birth to two more children. “I had to start the new semester with a three-month-old baby who came with me in a sling!”
And she showed her true motherhood nature after setting up a Breast-feeding Support Group in Galway as well as getting involved in other supporting activities for new mums.
But her passion for her job means that she shows no signs of slowing down while raising her three children under the age of eight. “It’s after eleven when I’m home and then I’ve to leave at half five the next day and if the baby fed through the night, that’s just tough for me. It’s totally worth it, I absolutely love my job.”