Elinata Kasanga lives in Nguluka Village, Zambia. Elinata remembers when her village lacked basic necessities. People couldn’t afford health clinic fees or school fees. Most villagers survived on one meal a day and contaminated water from local streams. Everything was made worse by the fact that Zambia owed billions of dollars to governments of wealthier countries. Despite making debt payments, Zambia couldn't keep pace with the growing interest, and there was little money to help the impoverished.
Christians and others around the world saw it was unreasonable to enforce debt payments at the expense of basic necessities of life. Enter Jubilee 2000, a campaign advocating for the cancellation of debts owed by impoverished nations who couldn't afford to pay to richer countries in the Global North and to the World Bank. An inspired way to celebrate the millennium in the year 2000.
The year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25) was built upon the assumption that the social, political, and economic orders would tear communities apart if left unchecked because of greed and unjust practices. Jubilee was a chance to hit reset. And Jubilee 2000 was a chance to apply that biblical principle in modern times.
More than 24 million people from 155 countries signed the Jubilee 2000 petition. The petition was delivered to the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000. There were national organizations and campaigns which lobbied, campaigned, protested, and educated. Activities varied from grassroots letter-writing campaigns targeting government officials, to national rallies with high-level celebrities, united by the symbol of human chains.
Jubilee 2000 succeeded in getting large amounts of debt canceled for qualifying countries, but it didn’t stop there. People around the world have continued to campaign, and since 1996, over $130 billion of poor countries’ debts have been canceled.
Because of this, the public health centers in Elinata’s community are now fully stocked with medicine and schools are free for grades 1 to 7. For the first time, Elinata and her community have access to clean water.