My treasured Liberian staff person Calvin called at noon today and asked, "Are you sitting down?" My response, "What’s wrong Calvin?" with a deep sense of dread. "Your dear friend Evelyn died today." "NO!" was all I could say…Evelyn and I have been friends for years. She lives alone in a small dirt-floor shack house around the corner from my home in Liberia. She would walk passed my front door daily with her plastic bucket filled with small things she tried to sell to anyone she encountered along the beach, her only source of "small-small" money. I often bought all the small bags of nuts and candies she had in her bucket, carefully counting out the total in Liberian dollars; always the equivalent of just a few US dollars. I would bring the treats to our FFW office and share them with the team, all of whom know of my dear friendship with Evelyn.
Anyone joining our FFW Circle of Giving will have the option of being connected to family in Liberia, just like our friend, banker and long-time supporter Jennifer:
"Nearly four years ago, Deborah and the Foundation for Women connected me to the father of a family of four daughters in Liberia; one of the most impoverished countries on planet earth. At the time, the family had not eaten in days. I have provided financial support to the family, and every time I have an opportunity, I send a package of “essentials.” When I ask what the family needs, the priorities are internet/phone, toothpaste, soap, diaper cream, and candy for the kids. Imagine!"
Foundation for Women was recently endorsed by the Rotary Action Group for Microfinance and Community Development and featured in their online member communications. Here is the full article:
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect every corner of the global economy, the impact of the virus on weak health systems and economies is only beginning to be foreshadowed. Countries with comparatively strong health systems have been catastrophically challenged by the pandemic, and as the virus spreads to poor countries, concern about the looming health crisis grows. In Liberia, where over 3 million people live below the poverty line, 97% of households do not have clean water or soap and access to personal protective measures and behaviors (such as masks, cleaning supplies, and social distancing) is almost impossible. The country sinks deeper into a compounding cycle of poverty and ill-health with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. The healthcare system is woefully ill-prepared to manage a spike in critical cases. The country only has 6 ventilators.
Deborah Featured in the San Diego Union Tribune "Phenomenal San Diego women in advocacy and empowerment"
Deborah was part of a wonderful article in the San Diego Union Tribune about phenomenal San Diego women in advocacy and empowerment.
“If you empower a man, you empower one person,” Deborah Lindholm once told the Union-Tribune. “If you empower a woman, you empower her entire family.”
That’s the formula behind microfinance — small loans to fledgling female entrepreneurs — that Lindholm and the nonprofit Foundation for Women have been using since 1997 to ease poverty in San Diego, India and now Liberia. She was drawn to the work after seeing how a $4 loan in India — used to buy a comb, a pair of scissors and a mirror and start a barber business — helped a woman buy a home and send her children to school. The program, started in Lindholm’s Coronado living room and patterned after the work of Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist Muhammad Yunus, has helped more than 1 million women so far. Read the full article online: sandiegouniontribune.com.
We greatly appreciate your support of our COVID19 Food Campaign - and so many more are awaiting help from FFW. We have become known for this food security campaign. $25 feeds a family of 5 for two months. Please help us help more. Visit our website to help today!
Keep reading for an update and stories from our FFW Liberia Director, Magnus.
Our office in Liberia has turned into a food distribution center, helping thousands so far. Please see the faces of the first grateful recipients and please help us to continue to feed those who have no food. $25 feeds a family of 5 for 2 months in Liberia. Donate on our website today!
Keep reading for pictures from our first food distribution!
Thursday, April 23, 2020 San Diego, CA - Today is a very special day. Twenty-two years ago today, the Foundation for Women offered its first public program. Hundreds of women came to that first event. Over the years thousands of women and several special men have joined with us in support of poverty eradication and social justice. We can truly say that we have positively impacted more than 25 million people living in dire poverty - and we are just getting started. In July 2019 I brought my son Moses from Liberia to America to begin college. A few days after we arrived, we attended a celebration of life for a woman in San Diego who was a major friend to Liberia.
Within moments of arriving at the gathering, Moses asked me, "Mommy, may I please go say hello to Uncle Samuel?" Moments later Samuel Mayson was standing next to me for the first time in seven years, though his family has been a beyond dear part of my life since 2006. We made arrangements to have a conversation the following day before he flew home to Baltimore - and we have not stopped speaking since that first conversation. On December 3, 2019 we were married in front of my home in Liberia next to the ocean surrounded by treasured family and friends. A God-thing as Moses says. My life has changed completely. And now the world has changed completely.
Sunday, March 8, 2020 Monrovia, Liberia
It is with a very heavy heart that I share with our Foundation for Women family that our treasured FFW Liberia COO David Beyan passed away suddenly on Friday, February 21st. I am here in Liberia now to be with our amazing team and partners to celebrate David's life and to try to find a way forward without him...
I first met David in Los Angeles in July 2006 when he was president of the Liberian Association of Southern California, months before my first trip to this special country. David has been a part of our work here from its inception, first as a board member and then for the last many years as our COO. David is responsible for the tremendous success we have experienced, impacting the lives of at least a half a million people here through our microfinance department, our school loan program, our health clinic program and now just launching our housing program in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity International. David's thumb print is on every aspect of our work.
On this International Women's Day we celebrate all the millions of women and families we have touched over the last 22 years and all of those who have made our success possible, none more impactful than David Beyan.
The Foundation for Women Liberia has been providing food and drink and financial support to the Beyan household here as hundreds come to sympathize with David's wife Janet and the entire family. The expenses will be tremendous as the family has decided to have a funeral here in Monrovia on March 14th and then transport the body to America for a funeral and burial in Los Angeles on March 21st were the children and grandchildren reside. We welcome any gift at this time so we can continue to stand with the Beyan family.
With love and appreciation,
Monrovia, Liberia - An ordinary day in Liberia, as Thanksgiving here is celebrated on the first Thursday in November. Liberia copied much from America, including this holiday, and then chose their way.
I awoke today to a huge sea, big waves and tide outside my home - and prayed that all the sadness and division in the world might be washed away and healed by Mother Earth, that we may one day realize we are indeed one human family and join hands with each other in love, compassion, and peace for the benefit of all beings and this planet. And in addition to my prayer and meditation and intention time, I shared my thanks for my treasured human family wherever I went today. Thanks to founding FFW member Loie Morris, her phrase "I love you more than tongue can tell" is used here now so often, just as I brought the word "FABULOUS!" to this totally wrecked country so many years ago. People here are FABULOUS and I love them more than tongue can tell!
Today I brought a special cake to our office in celebration of Amelia's birthday - she is not only a treasured member of our team for years, but is also mother of my namesake Deborah and her adopted sister Florence. JOY!
Monrovia, Liberia - It is not just women - it is all members of our treasured human family that we serve. I read this quote today from a treasured teacher;
"Individuals who choose to love can and do alter our lives in ways that honor the primacy of a love ethic. We do this by choosing to work with individuals we admire and respect; by committing to give our all to relationships; by embracing a global vision wherein we see our lives and our fate as intimately connected to those of everyone else on the planet. Commitment to a love ethic transforms our lives by offering us a different set of values to live by. In large and small ways, we make choices based on a belief that honesty, openness, and personal integrity need to be expressed in public and private decisions." ~ Bell Hooks.
Love is the only way. And yes, we are indeed one human family, as I have Known my entire life.
About the Author
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.
"Just a quick note to say how we appreciate all that you are doing in Liberia and wish we could do more to help. We enjoy reading your newsletters which are always so well written.
All the best!" ~ Ian and Julie Allen, Africa and Beyond Art Gallery