- On the 10th August, 26 year old Chris Jackson, http://runforcongo.wordpress.com, will be setting off on what will be his toughest challenge in a year long campaign to run 12 marathons in 12 months.
He has decided to take on this awe-inspiring challenge in 2010 to raise awareness of the scale of the humanitarian crisis and brutality of the conflict, in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where millions have died, lost their homes and children and women from 2 years to 80 plus have been subject to horrendous sexual violence.
On the 18th August, Chris will be running ‘The Most Dangerous Marathon in the World’, deep in the heart of the area of conflict, in the eastern provinces.
Chris is running to help women in the DRC through Women for Women International http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbPaVQUHDIg&feature=related
The conflict in the eastern provinces of the Congo has been described as the deadliest in the world since WWII; with an estimated 5.4 million dead (2.7 million of them children), over 9000 people were raped in the Kivu province alone last year (It’s estimated that a woman is raped every two hours) and in the first three months of 2010 115,000 lost their homes. www.congonow.org
Chris says “Despite the scale of the humanitarian conflict, the DRC receives very little coverage in the UK and awareness of this deadly conflict remains low. I want to change this.
“Throughout 2010 I have embarked on a mission to try and make people in the UK aware of the conflict in the Congo and I’m raising funds for Women for Women International www.womenforwomen.org a UK based charity supporting women in areas of conflict around the world, including DRC.
Women for Women International has helped over 30,000 women in DRC rebuild their lives after they have often been violated, sexually abused, have lost their homes and tragically sometimes their children and husbands.
“Some might say it’s a silly idea, but hopefully by pushing my body to its limits I’ll be able to make a few more people aware of the conflict in the DRC.
Chris continues “It felt somewhat contradictory to be attempting to run 12 marathons in 12 months to raise awareness of the conflict in the DRC, but not actually visiting the region myself during the course of this challenge.
“My plan is to head to the DRC and not only run a marathon there, but embark on a harder challenge of communicating to the people in the UK about the day to day struggle that people face in the Congo.
“To do this I am going to document my trip through short video clips and interviews of the people of the Congo so they can tell their story – 26 miles and 26 stories. I will use my blog to keep people informed and have a tracking system, so people can go online and see where I am along my route”.
They do this through a one year programme where women get the help that they need. This could be counseling and support, a safe space to talk about their experiences, help with understanding their rights, help to develop vocational skills or business skills, and micro loans to help them set up their own business, so they can become economically independent and send their children to school. http://www.womenforwomen.org/news-women-for-women/congo-women-living-in-fear.php