Monrovia, Liberia - As I am nearing the end of my time here once again, leaving next Monday to bring Moses to college in America, I am reflecting on the specialness of these two beings of light – and how “It’s a God-thing” as we all say here that we are connected. Victor Frankl discusses in one of my most treasured books ever, Man’s Search for Meaning, “…human beings’ motive is not money or even happiness, but for meaning. We are driven above all to understand the purpose of our lives. Once that is understood even the most miserable conditions cannot upend inner peace.”
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
I have been here more than two months now and am today reviewing my calendar since arriving. It is not easy being in Liberia... I focus on my gratitude list daily - and there is lots to celebrate, which is what keeps me here.
The FFW Community Health Clinic Project is happening! We funded the first 5 clinics this week; they all agreed to join our Network of Excellence in partnership with Benson Hospital. There are 70+ community clinics in the area around Benson Hospital so we are just beginning.
As we are bringing together clinics for this first-ever Network of Excellence, we are preparing to open the first FFW Clinic in one of our partner schools. Construction is underway at Henry Reeves Jr/Sr High School and is expected to be complete by the end of this month for our planned opening in July! This is the result of a great collective impact approach involving FFW, Benson Hospital, Care 2 Communities, and one of our treasured school partners. Together we are better!
Letters from Liberia: World Bank Funding has arrived and FFW Liberia Honored at Liberian Government MSME Launch!
At 6am this morning, I had a conversation with our FFW Liberia COO David Beyan with tremendous news. After working with the World Bank and the Central Bank of Liberia forever it seems, yesterday funding to expand our microcredit portfolio was deposited into our account. Today there was a special program in recognition of this post-Ebola support and Foundation for Women Liberia was the star!!
Monrovia, Liberia - I awoke today to find this very appreciated email from the Vice President’s Chief of Staff in my inbox. I am so grateful!
Monrovia, Liberia - La Jolla – OMG the contrast… I have been back here in my African home much of this month and my heart is bursting with joy and gratitude! Every moment here is filled with people and projects and conversations and relationships and experiences I love and treasure! Read on for a review of projects!
Foundation for Women Liberia Office Monrovia - Two years ago today, we made a major change in our work in Liberia. The Chief of Staff for the Vice President orchestrated a separation between our former Executive Director here and the organization. Never in any of our wildest dreams would we have thought such a thing would happen.
Today it is clear that God’s hand was in place and directing all; a new direction and new leadership were essential. Instead of heading for certain dissolution of the organization, we are thriving in Liberia! Two and a half years ago, our partnership with Edify in support of providing microfinance to low fee independent schools (LFIS) was birthed. Despite months of havoc due to the Ebola crisis, the program is a huge success and growing daily. We have more than 60 partner schools, touching thousands of children in Liberia by improving their schools. We add 5-6 new partner schools every month so we will have more than 100 soon; a remarkable accomplishment despite such challenges here.
Just after midnight in Monrovia - I just received word from my driver Calvin that he has my three bags in his possession, those checked in at the San Diego airport for Liberia nearly one week ago. It was not safe for me to go to the airport at this time of night here, so I waited… Calvin’s call just now: “This plane is loaded and I am on my way!” That meaning, my bags are in our FFW vehicle and on the way to the hotel. Joy, as they are filled with computers and needed office supplies and medical supplies, and birthday presents and so much needed here in Liberia.
Letters from Liberia: An apple and shelter from torrential rain this evening… I have both tonight and almost four million people do not.
Monrovia, Liberia - An apple – and shelter from torrential rain this evening… I have both tonight and almost four million people do not. I spent this day with our COO David visiting five of our Foundation for Women Liberia partner schools – joy! My masters degree in education and counseling is a life-time ago; at one time I dreamed of being a principal of a school. And now, here I am in Liberia standing up for the poorest of the poor, committed to help share the voices of those who are not heard. And helping low-fee independent school operators like those I visited today!
Thanksgiving Day in Monrovia, Liberia - Today is Thanksgiving Day in Liberia, the first Monday of November instead of the last Monday as we celebrate in America. Liberia has incorporated so much of America into their governmental structure and way of life – they truly do think they are the 51st state! I wish we all viewed Liberia and its dear people that way!
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.