It’s a new year, Mamas, and we have a fantastic new opportunity for YOU to share love with Somebody’s Mama.
In October, we attended the Allume conference in SC at the suggestion of former M.O.M., Colleen. Not only were we able to catch up with one of our favorite people, but we made a connection with a spectacular organization called One Million Thumbprints.
One Million Thumbprints (1MT) is making a grassroots effort to build peace into the lives of women who have experienced violence in war. They work in Syria/Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and South Sudan—the three most dangerous places in the world. Their implementing partner, World Relief, has been on the ground around the world for over 70 years, standing for those vulnerable to the horrors of war.
In 2012, 1MT founder, Belinda Bauman, met Esperance, a fifty-year-old widow and mother of four from the DRC. Esperance’s story is representative of so many women living under the threat of war. She watched her husband die at the hand of rebels. She was violently raped and would have died if her sisters had not rescued her. She is a survivor of the worst violence imaginable, a violence that has plagued nearly 60 percent of women in DRC. Today she is a peacemaker living in a war zone, given a voice through the work of One Million Thumbprints.
So, where do we fit in? Our Love Clubs will be raising money to support women like Esperance. We have adopted a program in Ibba, South Sudan called Tools and Seeds. South Sudan is the youngest nation in the world, gaining independence in 2011 following years of civil war. During the fighting, health and educational institutions were devastated, thousands were killed, and nearly 2.4 million people were left displaced or fled to neighboring countries as refugees.
The Tools and Seeds recipients are both refugees and members of the community whose lives have been forever changed by constant conflict. Farmers are given the choice to plant crops and/or keep bees. This project meets an immediate need to ensure food security, but it also meets a stabilizing need—people who are farming together are less willing to wage war on one another. Farming together changes mindsets from survival and tribal to building community.
And the effects do not stop there. This program meets a sustainability need—as the seeds sprout, the bees make honey, and the crops are harvested, the farmers join “savings groups” to put money away for the future. They build personal savings accounts, create loans for new people in the program, and get this—each community of farmers creates a GIVING FUND. These women are rewriting their own stories. Victims of war are now entrepreneurs, peacemakers, and philanthropists—all because they were given the gift of a chance to tell their stories and start a small business.
It costs $24 to support one woman starting her agribusiness. Let that sink in for a minute.
Part of the solution is hearing the stories of these women and letting them know we see them, we hear them, and we care about them. As part of this effort, co-founder, Leia Johnson, will be traveling with a 1MT storytelling group made up of women (and one guy!) from all walks of life. The team will summit Mount Kilimanjaro on March 8th, the International Day of Women, to create a spotlight for women still experiencing violence in war zones. Leia will be writing about her trip before, during, and after at her personal blog and will share the stories with the Somebody’s Mama community.
We have set our biggest fundraising goal to date: $19,341. That’s a dollar for every foot of mountain Leia will be climbing in our name. When we meet our goal, we will be empowering 805 women to rewrite their stories.
Somebody’s Mama is climbing a mountain to bring awareness to the plight of women experiencing violence in war and to stand with these sisters to say violence against any woman is violence against every woman.
We continue to believe that doing good is simple—even in these complicated situations. Here’s how you can be a part of the solution:
We are humbled by the enormous gravity of this project and honored to partner with One Million Thumbprints in an effort to end violence against women. Thank you in advance for the work you will do on behalf of the vulnerable. Let’s do this, Mamas!