If you've ever fallen behind on your bills or watched a friend struggle to make the monthly payment on a credit card, you know how devastating debt can be. Now imagine entire countries in the developing world—countries already struggling to lift their people out of extreme poverty—facing mountains of debt they didn't ask for and can't afford to pay.
Across the developing world, from Haiti to Lesotho, countries that should be distributing AIDS drugs, building schools and fighting hunger are trapped by billions of dollars of debt—debt often racked up by corrupt rulers who used the money to enrich themselves and used the future of their terrorized people as collateral.
A bill in Congress would cancel that debt for countries that commit to using the savings for poverty reduction, giving dozens of nations and millions of people a real chance at a better future. That bill is the Jubilee Act, and there is man who is dying to get it passed.
Reverend David Duncombe is taking 40 days off from his day job to walk the halls of Congress, asking our elected officials to support debt cancellation and the Jubilee Act. For 40 days, he's stretching his body to the very limits of human survival to pressure Congress to cancel the debt. And we can help him.
His 40 day fast ends October 17th on the Global Day of Action Against Poverty. That gives us one week to back up his fast with our voices. Let's all take action and send 40,000 letters to the U.S. House of Representatives—1,000 letters for each day of the fast—asking for support for the Jubilee Act and an end to the debt trap.
Debt is the kind of crisis that can hold back an entire continent. Sub-Saharan Africa pays $13 billion in debt service to wealthy nations and financial institutions every year, almost enough to pay for life-saving drugs to reverse the AIDS crisis that claims 7,000 lives each day.
And in 2000, when Tanzania's debt was cancelled, that government was able to eliminate school fees, sending 1.5 million children to school almost overnight.
For 40 days, Reverend Duncombe is fasting and telling our elected officials about the promise debt relief holds for people who are as hungry as he is. We can add 40,000 voices to his by asking our Representatives to support the Jubilee Act and lead on debt cancellation.
On October 17th, as anti-poverty advocates, we're supposed to Stand Up! for the Global Day of Action Against Poverty. Rev. Duncombe may be too weak to physically take to his feet that day. But by sending 40,000 letters we can stand up for him and send the message that debt cancellation is a smart way to fight poverty and a clear example of America's leadership in the world.
ONE by ONE, thousand by thousand, we can give strength to Rev. Duncombe's fast for the Jubilee Act, even as his strength runs out. 40,000 of us can stand up and tell Congress to pass the Jubilee Act and end the cycle of debt and poverty in the developing world.
Thank you for your voice,
Josh Peck, ONE.org
P.S. Believe in what Reverend Duncombe is doing? Want to help us reach our goal of 40,000 letters in support of his 40 day fast? Take a minute to forward this email to four friends and ask them to support the Jubilee Act, too.