by Rachel Held Evans
“A woman of valor, who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”
– Proverbs 31:10
Today, on National Trafficking Awareness Day, a valorous group of 40 women from across the globe will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of the Freedom Climb.
“Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is symbolic of the huge climb to freedom faced daily by millions of enslaved women and children worldwide,” the Freedom Climb Web site states. Climbers will be raising awareness, prayers, and finances for women and children being enslaved and exploited as a result of trafficking.
The goal is to affect the lives of 10,000 women through projects that break the cycles of poverty, shame, slavery, and despair. These projects include mirco-loans, education, skills training, and protection.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, and its summit is known as Uhuru Peak. Uhuru is the Swahili word for freedom.
One of my goals with my year of biblical womanhood project is to help women take back Proverbs 31. The ancient acrostic poem celebrating the virtuous woman was never meant to be a standard women struggle to meet, but rather a blessing that celebrates the accomplishments they’ve already made. As we heard from my friend Ahava, in Jewish culture, many men recite the poem to their wives at the Sabbath meal, and Jewish women often praise one another for accomplishments in homemaking, career, boldness, and justice by declaring “eshet chayil!”—woman of valor!
So to each of these women, and to the women that they help through their climb, I issue a hearty, Eshet chayil! Woman of valor!
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