Several years ago, my wife, Belinda met Esperance while visiting the Democratic of Congo. Esperance watched her husband die at the hands of rebels. She was violently raped and would have died if her sisters hadn’t rescued her. Across a blank sheet of paper, Esperance had someone write the words: “Tell the world.” Then she stamped her thumbprint underneath.
Esperance's thumbprint became Belinda’s mandate: "Violence against women in war is violence against me," Belinda said.
Today One Million Thumbprints is a grassroots movement seeking to aid women who’ve been affected by violence in war zones in two specific ways: (1) Advocating the UN and other governing bodies to follow through on resolutions and laws passed to protect women in conflict zones, and; (2) Partnering with proven organizations working in countries where women experience violence. World Relief is the Campaign's implementing partner.
This week One Million Thumbprints announced a "1MT Climb for Peace," a five day trek up Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, to raise awareness and support for women affected by gender-based violence in South Sudan, Syria, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The team will summit the 19,341 ft. climb on March 8, 2016, International Women’s Day.
“I realized that no matter where violent conflict occurs, it has the capacity to destroy everything, from the tiniest baby to the infrastructure of an entire society,” said Lynne Hybels, one of the climbers and co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church.
One Million Thumbprints invites all of us to join Esperance by helping her, and thousands like her, to stem the tide of violence in tangible ways. One thumbprint can become a hundred, a thousand, even a million strong.
To meet the team, give your thumbprint or a donation, please visit www.onemillionthumbprints.org.