I was very surprised to find out that one in six people in this world have no way of proving their identity. What does this mean? It means that according to the World Identity network around 1.1 billion people have no identification. That means that these people can not obtain travel documents of even open a bank account. Young children have no way of enrolling in school and getting basic health care. These “invisible children” can fall prey to human traffickers who can fake documents to transport them to different countries for the purpose of slavery, engaging them in the sex trade or using them for organ trading.
Born without a birth certificate in Moldova – the poorest country in Europe – Dr. Mariana Dahan comes from humble origins and an upbringing reflecting the conditions of over 600 million children today. Facing adversity and challenges at home, she turned to pursuing higher education, and used it as a way to escape her circumstances and settle abroad.
Dr. Dahan is many things: Technologist, human rights activist, and published author. Although I was initially interested in Dr. Dahan’s work in blockchain, something we both share a background in, I realized one must start at the beginning if they are really to understand her worldview.
But her journey, and the passion she has for helping others, is what makes her truly stand out as a visionary. Dr. Dahan escaped Moldova, she never forgot her origins, and used them to fuel her mission of creating a world where everyone— no matter their upbringing— had proof of their existence. Several years ago, after leading the World Bank’s identification initiative (ID4D global agenda), she created an organization devoted solely to this cause. Launched on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, the World Identity Network (WIN) Foundation uses blockchain technology to solve some of the toughest challenges in humanity today, including providing identity to the underprivileged to help combat human trafficking.
To Dr. Dahan, identity is a fundamental human right. The ones who are most affected by not having proper documents are women and children; who remain trapped in a cycle of poverty.
To help spread awareness and exponentially spread this message, actress philanthropist, social activist and humanitarian Amber Heard, has now Joined the uphill fight Mariana has tirelessly worked toward bringing equality for all. Amber Heard has forged a partnership with WIN to spread awareness of their mission and bring light to the issue of identity for women and children so they may have a fighting chance for opportunity.