Monrovia, Liberia - Yesterday I was astonished to read a recent report listing the 10 worst countries on the planet for women and girls – some places of course yes, one big surprise!
After spending much of our Foundation for Women service in India beginning in the middle 1990’s, it is heart-breaking to see that India is the #1 worst place for women and girls. Then come expected countries – Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, Nigeria. Then #10 completely astonished me – the United States of America!
I wonder how to explain this to the women and girls of Liberia, where 75% of the women in this country are raped; a statistic that began during the decades of war and has not diminished since peace came in 2003. And where 80% of the population are living in dire poverty, particularly women and girls.
And what is happening in America that the US is in the company of these other countries on this list?
When are we going to realize that we are One Human Family and treat each other with dignity and respect and love? We must hold that light, regardless of how challenging this current time is for women and girls. And we must do something in whatever way we can to change this reality.
My gratefulness quote yesterday:
"Correct with kindness and love but also with zeal and holy freedom. If you do not speak out, if you do not sound the alarm when it is needed, you will be justly convicted by your silence."
Please see the report at http://poll2018.trust.org. ~ Deborah
–For 60 Helmets Donation
By Omari Jackson for The Daily Observer, Monrovia, Liberia. Read the full article online.
The ELWA Academy Skateboard Club yesterday expressed appreciation to the Tony Hawk Foundation for the donation of 60 helmets to help build interest in the sport. The helmets were presented to the club by the founder and chief executive officer of Foundation for Women, Deborah Lindholm, yesterday during skateboard training at the school’s campus in Monrovia.
Excerpted from The Daily Observer Read the full article online
The ELWA Academy in Paynesville, outside Monrovia yesterday launched the ELWA Academy Skateboard Club with 72 students from the lower and upper classes. According to the club’s director, Pastor Arthur T. Williams, the launch is meant to offer the students a different form of recreation as “all work without play makes Jack a dull boy.”
“We selected students from the lower and upper classes,” Director Williams said, “to become members of the club. In fact we were interested in students who showed interest in the sport.”
Helping the students with materials for the sport is the non-for-profit organization, Foundation for Women, whose founder and chief executive officer, Madam Deborah Lindholm, donated 18 helmets and 18 skateboards to the club.
We are thrilled to announce that we are the winners of a grant from Awesome Without Borders. The funds are bringing much needed joy to Liberian children - many of whom have known nothing but warfare and Ebola.
From Awesome Without Borders:
With not much more than a board and four wheels, this nonprofit is skating into Liberia.
On a recent trip to Liberia, Foundation for Women Founder and CEO Deborah Lindholm happened to bring a couple of skateboards along. Lindholm’s foundation is dedicated to supporting women in poverty, and she’s always on the lookout for unexpected, entrepreneurial ideas — and soon enough, she was on a roll with skateboards. Lindholm’s skateboards brought smiles to everyone she encountered. And in a nation devastated by a recent Ebola outbreak and brutal civil war, smiles are sometimes in short supply. Thrilled at the unexpected popularity of the skateboards, Lindholm made it her mission to bring some new fun to Liberia with the simplicity of a board and four wheels.
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.
Read the full article online at washingtonpost.com.
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.
Read the full article online at sandiegouniontribune.com.
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.