Twenty-one years ago, dear friends from San Diego Hospice, Rotary and La Jolla began gathering in my home monthly to discuss something I heard clearly – “Start something that supports women like you, those whose voices are not being heard.” I was going through a major transition in my life – career, marriage, living space, travel routine – and desperately needed a community. I could not find one, so I said quietly and listened. I often say, “God had a good idea and I was blessed to hear it. The Foundation for Women was born.”
La Jolla, CA - We are very excited to be announcing our Kickstarter campaign to raise money for our new documentary film "Hope: Resilience in the face of war, poverty and Ebola". This film will help us raise awareness and funds for our education and microcredit programs. As a backer you will receive the satisfaction of helping these members of our human family who have valuable lessons for all of us. You'll also be able to chose from several great gifts including handmade bracelets, Premium Microloan Blend Coffee and other items. Be a part of this exciting new project - you can even get your name in the film credits! Go to our Kickstarter page.
Ebola is back. The World Health Organization declared the Ebola epidemic over in January of this year. A 30-year old woman in Liberia became the most recent Ebola statistic. The virus has now claimed the lives of more than 11,000 people in the last 28 months.
La Jolla, CA - Two years ago this month Ebola began its unprecedented impact on the people and country of Liberia. Thousands of people became infected. Thousands of people died. Nearly 5000 people survived, only to face an unbelievable reality – life with tremendous loss.
I am deeply touched by this recent article in the New York Times "Ebola, Ruthless to Families, Leaves Liberian Man Alive and Alone". I know many Ebola survivors. Yes they thank God for their good fortune, but trying to make a new normal after Ebola is not easy.
I am working closely with the men who ran the crematorium from August – December 2014 at the height of the crisis. They are heroes, not just for Liberia but for the world. Without their heroic efforts, who knows how the virus would have continued to spread, who know how much higher the death toll. Yet the men of Marshall are now outcasts; cremation in Liberia is viewed as sending a person to hell.
La Jolla, CA - I started today as I do every Tuesday when I am not in Liberia. At 7:00AM here in California I answer a Skype request from Anna and say hello to my dear Liberian team. Soon we ask our partners at Edify to join us. We begin a weekly global business meeting, all together thanks to Skype.
Before we began today’s agenda, our Foundation for Women Liberia COO David brought up the recent terrorist attacks in the Ivory Coast and then yesterday in Mali. He mentioned that there is a heightened security awareness now in West Africa; it is all very close to home now. We offered a pray for peace in the world, not knowing at that moment terrorists were striking again – this time in the heart of Brussels, the subway system and the airport. So many dead.
La Jolla, CA - I just received the most wonderful phone call from my friend Jerome who headed the Truth & Reconciliation Commission in Liberia following the senseless and completely destructive civil war. The US Government has granted his asylum request! I wrote about Jerome and his story in my latest book, soon to be published, Trust & Transformation. When we first met in Texas in October 2015, I was overwhelmed by what I heard from him when I asked the simple question over lunch: How did you get to Indiana? This is what I heard – which completely blew me away…
La Jolla, CA - OMG the contrast between last weekend in Liberia and this weekend in La Jolla, and several days in Geneva, IL in between – dramatic! We are all sharing one planet, with such diversity and extremes – and yet we are one human family. The extremes makes me realize how easy it is for separation, “them and us” instead of “we” which is our true reality.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day on Tuesday of this week, I am doing a life review. Since 1914, March 8th has been celebrated as International Women’s Day. I was not aware of this as a child, nor as a student or young adult, nor in my first professional career. It was only once the Foundation for Women was birthed and my focus turned to the issues of women and girls nearly 25 years ago did March 8th become a significant day in my world.
Monrovia, Liberia - I awoke today to find this very appreciated email from the Vice President’s Chief of Staff in my inbox. I am so grateful!
Monrovia, Liberia - La Jolla – OMG the contrast… I have been back here in my African home much of this month and my heart is bursting with joy and gratitude! Every moment here is filled with people and projects and conversations and relationships and experiences I love and treasure! Read on for a review of projects!
Foundation for Women Liberia Office Monrovia - Two years ago today, we made a major change in our work in Liberia. The Chief of Staff for the Vice President orchestrated a separation between our former Executive Director here and the organization. Never in any of our wildest dreams would we have thought such a thing would happen.
Today it is clear that God’s hand was in place and directing all; a new direction and new leadership were essential. Instead of heading for certain dissolution of the organization, we are thriving in Liberia! Two and a half years ago, our partnership with Edify in support of providing microfinance to low fee independent schools (LFIS) was birthed. Despite months of havoc due to the Ebola crisis, the program is a huge success and growing daily. We have more than 60 partner schools, touching thousands of children in Liberia by improving their schools. We add 5-6 new partner schools every month so we will have more than 100 soon; a remarkable accomplishment despite such challenges here.
Deborah Lindhom is the Founder and CEO of the Foundation for Women. For over 20 years she has lived and worked in Africa, India and the United States on issues of poverty, education and microcredit.