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.