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ONE Campaign/Jubilee USA Network: Jump for Jubilee

December 17, 2009
In The News

Imagine that your family has barely enough money to scrape by. A school sits down the street, but fees make it too expensive for you and your siblings to attend—so you've never been able to go to school.

But then imagine that one day the government announces that it has cancelled those school fees. You can go to school. You finally have the chance to learn everything you wanted to know.

This is the reality in Tanzania. Thanks to debt relief savings in 2001, three million more children have enrolled in school, 2,500 new schools have been built and 28,000 new teachers have been recruited.

Today we have an opportunity to extend these benefits to millions more around the world.

After months of anticipation, the Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Expanded Debt Cancellation was introduced late yesterday by Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), along with Finance Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-VT), Ranking Member Spencer Bachus (R-AL), and seven more Republican and Democrat members of Congress. This encouraging bi-partisan effort by Congressional leaders was an important step in continuing the fight to end global poverty.

This bill would give much-needed debt cancellation to 22 additional impoverished countries left out of previous debt relief deals. It would also help put an end to harmful economic conditions and allow for an audit of past illegitimate debts.

Last year, while the Jubilee Act passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it didn't pass the full Senate in time. But today, passage of the Jubilee Act is more urgent than ever—this year, 100 million people were pushed back into poverty due to the economic crisis.

Let's pass the Jubilee Act in 2010 and help millions more enjoy school for the very first time.

-Hayley Hathaway, Operations and Communications Coordinator, Jubilee USA Network