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.
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.