SAN DIEGO - As the fear of Ebola spreads through the U.S., three San Diego women are collecting buckets and bleach in an effort to stop the spread of the epidemic in Liberia. “I talk to Liberia everyday and the culture of the country is completely traumatized. There are no handshakes, no touching, no hugging; there is just complete and utter fear in Liberia right now,” said Deborah Lindholm, founder of “Foundation for women.” Lindholm, along with Paula Cordeiro, Dean of University for San Diego and professor Joi Spencer spent weeks in Liberia on a mission to help women in third world countries through education and business development. “They’re so proud of the educational system they are trying to set up and when you realize that every school we visited is now closed … our hearts were so touched,” said Dean Cordeiro. They left in August when all non-essential Americans were asked to leave because of Ebola. Read the full article online at fox5sandiego.com.
By Fred Barbash - The Washington Post
Liberia, the West African nation hardest it by Ebola, has begun a frightening descent into economic hell. That's the import of three recent reports from international organizations that seem to bear out the worst-case scenarios of months ago: that people would abandon the fields and factories, that food and fuel would become scarce and unaffordable, and that the government's already meager capacity to help, along with the nation's prospects for a better future, would be severely compromised. They are no longer scenarios. They are real. While these trends have been noted anecdotally, the cumulative toll is horrific.
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The Ebola virus triggered closure of the Foundation For Women's office in Liberia’s capital of Monrovia Thursday after its generator repairman, Victor, died of the disease. All workers will be tested and the building and two vans sanitized before a projected Oct. 1 reopening, reports FFW founder and CEO Deborah Lindholm, of La Jolla. She returned to San Diego Aug. 8 when the U.S. government ordered all nonessential personnel to leave the country. Her nonprofit organization delivers microloans to women, enabling them to start small businesses and become self-sustaining. A popular FFW center manager in northern Liberia, one of the hardest hit areas, also succumbed to the disease while caring for patients. “It is getting worse, worse, worse,” said Lindholm, who is in constant touch with her Liberian colleagues.
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By Diane Bell
When Deborah Lindholm left for the airport in Liberia on Aug. 8, the doorman at the hotel that has been her second home for more than six years, pleaded: “Deborah, please pray that we are alive when you come back.” In our corner of Southern California, the deadly Ebola virus spreading in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in West Africa seems a world away. But for Lindholm, who set up a microfinance network to help women start their own businesses in Liberia in 2006, it is right next door.
She pays for the education of a young boy named Moses and found him a home with the vice principal of a school run by the Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse. He lives only three doors away from the infected American missionary Nancy Writebol, who recently returned to the United States for treatment. The sister-in-law of a dear friend of Lindholm was infected with virus while working as a nurse. She died and her husband and entire family were exposed.
“No one touches anyone any more. No one shakes hands. No one hugs,” says Lindholm. “This is a very caring culture. It is awful to watch.” Read the full article at sandiegouniontribune.com.
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.