On this day when I was due to be landing home again in Liberia, I am delighted to share with you the first documentary short film in our project sharing the stories of those whose voices are not heard in the Ebola crisis.
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.
Letters for Liberia - URGENT - I have been away from Liberia for 10 days now and as our US Ambassador to Liberia recently said to me, "The news is grim." The changes in the last few days are dramatically awful. I am heading a grassroots effort now in America to help. Please share this message with everyone you know who cares about humanity. We urgently need US$20 to sanitize the home of every Foundation for Women borrower and staff in Liberia. Doing this will help keep them safe from ebola. That $20 donation helps at least 10 people on average be safe. We have the grassroots network in place in Liberia to distribute these supplies which are available and will be purchased in Liberia.
Please see this story on NBC news last evening and the story today in the San Diego Union Tribune. While the US government is obsessed with killing people in Iraq at the moment, I am obsessed with saving lives in Liberia. Please make a donation on our website, call (858) 483-0400 or send a check to Foundation for Women P.O. Box 2786 La Jolla, CA 92038.
Our human family in Liberia is waiting for our help - and the need is urgent! With great gratitude, Deborah
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.
Written by Henry Karmo firstname.lastname@example.org
Monrovia, Liberia - Vice President Joseph Boakai has announced collaboration between F-SHAM of Faith School for Girls, The Foundation for Women and EDIFY, an educational partner in Liberia that has resulted a transformed F-SHAM into a Technology school for girls in Liberia.
A team of Foundation for Women Liberia (FFWL) Staff was in Foya, Lofa County, Liberia in March, where 150 women received loans totaling nearly 16 thousand dollars. Seventy of the women received their second cycle loans, while eighty received their first loans. When the team arrived in Foya, more than a dozen women, singing and dancing, were on hand to greet them. The greeting party had been waiting for 12 hours! The gathering continued for several more hours in celebration. Amazing stories came from the women about how they intended to use the loans. Most of them had plans to travel to the neighboring countries of Ivory Coast, Guinea or Sierra Leone, where commodities were cheaper. Some already planned to expand their existing markets. They knew FFWL was the answer. The FFWL team traveled to one of the neighboring countries, Guinea, to see where the women were spending their loans. They went to Gueckedou, a large border city in the Republic of Guinea, just about an hour’s drive from Foya. The team discovered that Gueckedou sells the same kinds of commodities found in large cities in Liberia -- lots of cheap Chinese-made products, clothing, footwear, and plastic dishes. Read the full article.
PATRICIA FREEMAN and her family were in bed for the night on February 5, 2012. Suddenly, a chaos never heard before broke out just outside their modest two-room shack. Neighbors came banging at the windows. The screams came next. “Get out, fire! Get out, fire!!” Within minutes, the family scrambled out of their home with only the clothes on their backs. Their lives would be saved. But everything they owned would be left behind, destroyed in the all-encompassing flames. Patricia, her husband, and her four children live in a poor neighborhood in Monrovia, where houses are made of palm thatches, tarpaulin, and cardboard – whatever is available to them. But the materials are highly combustible. And to make things worse, neighborhoods are tightly clustered, making it nearly impossible for fire trucks to drive through narrow, crude alleyways. . Read the full story.
Fabulous friend and FFW Founding Member Jan Phillips came to Liberia in December 2013 to document our seven years of work there as a gift to us! We are so grateful Jan!
"I went to Liberia to help document the amazing work the Foundation for Women is doing over there. As a founding member, I have been supporting the work for fifteen years—both locally and globally. Being with the women whose lives have been radically improved by their association with the Foundation was an incredible opportunity. I saw first-hand what a huge difference a little support makes and what a vast network of support the Foundation is growing over there. It was a joy to behold!"
~ Jan Phillips, author/artist/activist www.janphillips.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.