I'm Running for Congo Women!!
You may have noticed my new little side image about Run for Congo Women, well...I'm going to do just that! Here's the scoop: I was reading the August issue of Runner's World and saw a story about the foundation Run for Congo Women and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I HAD to join their team for the run in Santa Monica on September 12th. With so many tragic places in the world, why the Democratic Republic of Congo you might ask. It has been called the worst place in the world to be a woman. Here's some info.:
• More than 5.4 million people have died in the conflict in the Congo since 1998.
• Half of these deaths are children under the age of five.
• For women in the Congo, brutal gang rape and torture are a daily reality. Rape is used as a weapon of war.
• The mission of Women for Women International is to help women survivors of war move from victim to survivor to active citizen.
• Women for Women International’s program in the Congo provides women survivors of war with direct financial assistance, job skills training, rights awareness education, trauma counseling and the opportunity to bond with other women who have endured similar violence and hardship.
• Women for Women International has served over 31,000 women in the Congo. Each woman is matched with a sponsor, who contributes $27/month and is encouraged to develop a one-on-one relationship with her “sister” through letter writing.
• Run for Congo Women was founded by Lisa Shannon, a supporter of Women for Women International. The initiative has grown from one woman in Portland, Oregon, to a global movement that has raised over $600,000 for Women for Women International’s Congo program and sponsored over 1,400 Congolese women… and counting!
• Women for Women International’s program in the Congo is working. In a survey conducted in 2008, 86% of program participants reported having improved their economic situation, 88% of women expressed increased self-confidence, and 83% reported having a greater knowledge of their rights. In a survey conducted in 2009, program graduates reported a monthly income of $33.84 whereas the non-participants groups’ income was recorded at $23.42.
The stories these women have shared about their lives are absolutely soul crushing. Here is a link to the original article that I read. It's astounding, horrific, inspiring, and deeply humbling. Please take a few minutes to read it if you can.
So, needless to say, I am fundraising for my run! It would mean so much to me if any readers would consider a donation to the cause. I have a page set up to make donating a SUPER easy process! Here's the link to my personal page. Thank you in advance for anyone who decides to make a contribution! Stay tuned for my race recap as well!