Have you ever been with Mandela and he asked you to do something?”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu on forming The Elders council.
Mandela asked me to do something once too, along with 1,000 others crammed into St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia where he was honored at an ecumenical service. He called us to action, to forgive, to heal, and to act. That was 22 years ago. Forgiveness, healing and action, from a man who’d been in prison for 25 years is a profound concept. I had spent a year in South Africa a few years prior. Nelson Mandela was still in prison when I lived there. South Africa was in the final stages of apartheid. Seems unimaginable now.
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Archbishop Desmond Tutu launched the Elders program to end child marriage and let girls be Girls, Not Brides. The future success of nearly every global development program depends on healthy, educated girls. When you’re married off at 12 or 15 and delivering one child after another in your teens, school goes out the window, your chances of dying in childbirth increase exponentially and a life of poverty is almost inescapable.
What was humbling was the calm, spiritual energy of these two global elders. I fell in love with both of their hearts years ago, but to see them steaming ahead with a schedule that would break most of us at half their ages (especially Tutu). Make 30 mins in your day to watch this session. And find out what your call to action will be.
Photo credit: With permission United Nations Foundation