I met Belinda last fall. We sat in Chelsea's living room with the camera rolling, and Belinda spoke of how she met a woman named Esperance in Congo. What was supposed to be a quick 30 minute interview turned into a 2 hour long conversation.
A mother of four and a widow in one of the most dangerous places to be a woman, Esperance watched her husband die at the hands of rebels before she was violently raped and abandoned. She shared with Belinda that she would have died if it weren't for her sisters in the neighboring village. Not knowing how to read or write, Esperance stamped her thumbprint and asked her pastor to write above it: "Tell my story."
Tell my story. It became a mandate for Belinda. And when she closed her eyes, she imagined one million thumbprints surrounding Esperance's, telling her & the women beside her -- You are heard. You are not forgotten.
I had so many questions because I just didn't know. 400,000 women were raped between 2006 and 2007 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. That's 1,152 women raped every day. 4 women raped every 5 minutes. It's still known as one of the worst places in the world to be a woman. We sat in the living room feeling the brokenness in our hearts. While there is incredible work being done today to protect, heal, and support women experiencing violence in war zones, it can only thrive with awareness & support.
I am honored to walk alongside and film 14 amazing, passionate, justice-seeking women who have been SHOUTING from the rooftops, "Violence against women is violence against us." With love & determination, we will be summiting Mount Kilimanjaro on March 8th with a banner of thumbprints and in honor of women like Esperance, who we hold deep in our hearts.
"It takes 38,680 steps to climb Kilimanjaro. It is 20,000 feet in altitude and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. It will be a physically, emotionally and spiritually challenging feat."
"We take it on with joy, knowing our support
will go directly to restoring survivors
physically, emotionally and spiritually."
Here's how you can support. And oh wow, we would love it.
"Each time we reach a milestone of thumbprints collected—1,000, 5,000, 10,000 and more--we will share with the UN Secretary General, members of the UN Women Executive Board and other policy makers. Our desire is to “break the silence” and encourage the UN to continue the support and work towards the goals defined in UN Resolution 1325 and UN Resolution 1888."
3. Pray with Us
We'll be reading & praying on the mountain with this devotional written by Christine Caine, Shauna Niequist, Amena Brown, and other incredible women making their mark on the plight to overcome untold violence and suffering.
"By donating today or downloading this devotional, you are adding your name to thousands of others who are standing up and fighting for the rights of women in war zones. Thank you!"
Your donation goes to programs building and restoring peace at the grassroots level in some of the world's worst conflict zones. All gifts go to World Relief programs in Congo, South Sudan and Iraq/Syria to help women overcome the affects of violence. Your donation is also helping me get across the ocean to help share stories of brokenness, hope & justice. Thank you.
4. Walk with Us
Feeling inspired & want to walk with us virtually?!
To learn more about One Million Thumbprints >> http://www.onemillionthumbprints.org/about/
To learn more about the #1MT Team >> http://www.onemillionthumbprints.org/meet-the-team
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