Good day to you, my name is Chris Jackson and I’m based in London, England. Throughout 2010 I’m attempting raise awareness in the U.K. about the current situation in the Congo by running 12 marathons. In fact I am on my way to Congo now to run an additional marathon around Bukavu.
Why? Well I had spent time studying Africa’s Great Lakes region and working in Uganda and used to read news stories about what was happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You read accounts of child soldiers and rape, but it doesn’t always seem real. So last year I decided to go there to see what was happening first hand. It was so hard to listen to people talking about these issues and not feel compelled to act. I wanted to do something so I decided to do 12 marathons in 12 months to raise awareness about what’s happening in the Congo.
In the U.S. the likes of Lisa Shannon and the Enough Project have done fantastic work in making people and politicians aware of the conflict in the Congo. However, in the U.K. people don’t understand the gravity of the situation or how many lives have suffered and are continuing to suffer from the instability in the region.
People say I’m a bit like that Forest Gump chap, but all I hope is that with every mile, race, and marathon that more and more people will become aware of the atrocities in the Congo. When I go to the Congo my plan is to make a series of short bite-sized videos that tell the stories of people living there day to day. My aim is to make people aware of the conflict in the Congo so that, over time, the U.K. government can see a grassroots movement turning into real demands for action.
Until then, I’ll keep running, campaigning and doing what I can to make a difference.