Today is International Women's Day. A day to celebrate and uplift the women in our lives and around the world. To recognize the struggles they face. To call for equality, for rights that are overlooked, dismissed, ignored. In some places, to call for an admission of humanity, to be seen as persons rather than property. To insist on value and worth.  

When deciding to do the Mongol Rally, I was most excited by the prospect of doing it all for charity. I'm really passionate about humanitarian issues. Social justice. I have a strong desire to make a positive impact on the world, even if it's something small. So the charity aspect of the rally appealed to me. And then we took it a step further. 

Team #WeLive is comprised of five incredibly strong, funny, amazing, independent women (yes I'm including myself in that). We're all passionate about seeing the world become a better place and wanted to go beyond the required charity aspect of the rally, even beyond the adventure itself. How could we use this journey to make a positive impact? 

It didn't take us long to make the decision to focus on women's rights in the different regions we'll visit. We've researched women's organizations along the way, from anti-trafficking groups to those working with women and children in refugee camps, to those seeking to empower women who are often belittled and restricted in their cultures. Even if we don't physically make it to each one (because chaos is the bread and butter of the rally and who knows what'll happen), we plan on highlighting them along the way. And we also hope to speak with women in each country and catch a glimpse of what life is like for them. How different it is from what we experience here in the States. What similarities we might have. At the end, we plan on compiling all of that into a book. Filled with photos and stories of what we encounter. We've got several writers and a professional photographer (yours truly of course) on board, so you can bet the quality will be excellent. 

This is our tentative route as of right now:

Starting from Scotland, where we'll prep for the rally, to England for the official launch, and then: France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, and then Russia again. 

As you can see, that's a lot of countries. A lot of miles. A lot of stories. We'll encounter so many different cultures, and I'm pretty sure we'll find that life for women varies quite a bit in each one. I can't wait to document this! We're a team of all women FOR women. I'm so proud of that, and I feel so privileged to be a part of it.

But we need your help! We can't do this alone. We need visas and cars and safe passage through Iran and gear and lots of other things in order to make this journey a reality. Will you join with us in helping women across the world? Will you help us tell their stories? No amount is too small, and we would be forever grateful! Also, we have lots of fun perks to choose from. Head to our Fundrazr and check them out! 

Also, I lied. This is definitely going to be a 3-part blog series. Tomorrow I PROMISE I'll tell you all about my team. I sat down to write about that, and then this came out: the why. That felt more important on International Women's Day. So, stay tuned. 

-m.

 

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