An Apollo Themed Call for Support

Hey Echoers!

Yesterday, July 16th marked the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11's Launch to the Moon which would go on to put humans on the Moon for the first time on July 20th 1969.

While not working for Esther's Echo, I am a space/science educator. I'm presently on the road in Northern BC on behalf of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver talking to young people about the history of the Moon landing and future possibilities of landing on the Moon. I don't see these jobs as separated from one another however. In fact, they both inspire each other.

One of the Apollo Astronauts, Bill Anders, who flew the first crewed mission which orbited the Moon in Apollo 8, took a famous photo called Earthrise. It's one of the most reproduced images in human history. About the photo he said: "We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth." I reflect more on this quote in the video below! Please check it out! I had to setup Lego even!

Remember, we still have an ongoing Facebook Fundraiser to relocate the Women in Action Development Project which closes tonight! You can find it here: We're almost at the goal!

And you can always donate anytime on the Esther's Echo website here using the button below. To those of you who have already contributed! And Happy Apollo 50th!


Shoot for the Moon

Help Women in Action Relocate!

Dear Echoers,

The lease is now up on the current location that Esther’s school, the Women in Action Development Project rents.

Your fundraising efforts this past Winter ensured that we would be able to keep the current place until graduation and you made that happen this past Spring! We did it. Now comes the part of trying to secure a new location for the coming Fall semester.

Is this the long term goal? No. Long term we want to build Esther her own school but that will take time to raise the funds needed to build a whole school building from the foundation up. Finding a new location to rent in the meantime buys us more time to raise the needed funds for the new building while ensuring that there is no disruption in the student’s school year.

We need to raise about 6,000USD. I have guaranteed half of that funding personally and I am asking you to help me with the other half.

I found this picture recently while going through old photos. It is of Esther during the time when her and I first met in Sierra Leone a life time ago now. She had organized a beach day for the students of the school and had just gone for an amazing dive on a makeshift beach volleyball court. I was taken by her courage and dedication and the joy she found in her students which came through in this picture. She’s been at this for over two decades now. Let’s ensure that the work continues!

You can donate online using the button below

Donate to the Relocation Fund

Or at our ongoing Facebook Fundraiser (


Esther on the Beaches of Sierra Leone

Esther on the Beaches of Sierra Leone

Join Our Board of Directors!

Hello Echoers!

I had mentioned in my post last month celebrating this year's graduating class that I had three other exciting announcements to make. Two of them are bundled together in this e-mail. First, we are moving forward with our plans to transition Esther's Echo from a registered non-profit to a registered charity in the coming months. Esther's Echo is currently an incorporated non-profit organization. But until we also register as a Canadian Charity, we cannot issue charitable tax receipts which, I believe, will give us access to a larger donor pool and larger donations culminating in the construction of a new building for Esther and the Women in Action Development Project. The second exciting thing is that, in order to transition, we are looking for a new individual to join our Board of Directors!

What does becoming a board member for Esther's Echo look like? 

We are looking for a social justice warrior who is passionate about women's rights, women's education, equity, and has experience related to international development, fundraising, working in the non-profit sector, and communication. If your skills, passion, and experience fall in this range, or you have other cool skills and experiences you feel would be helpful to our organization and are interested in being a more integral part of what we do, send me an e-mail. (Some of you have already reached out to me when we made a post through Facebook. Thank you for doing so. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you and you are still on our list of candidates.) In terms of time commitment, we would need somebody willing to connect by e-mail with the other board members and myself a few times each month, be available for board meetings once every quarter, and be willing to participate in and organize fundraisers for the organization at least once a year. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen to apply.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support of the organization. Once again, without all of you we wouldn't have pictures like these below! 

Keep an eye out for exciting announcement 3! 



A Mother Figure to Many Celebrates a New Graduating Class

You accomplished this. At the end of this past April, you helped an entire new class of students graduate from the Women in Action Development Project in Sierra Leone. Because of your donations over the past year, another 50 young women have a better education and a much better chance to find employment in one of the most challenging places in the world to live. Look at these pictures. These graduates are up there because of your support. Once again, thank you so very much. Together, and with Esther’s leadership, we helped put another class through school.

I have THREE other awesome updates coming soon but will leave these with you for now - a class of graduating students and the woman whom many of them look up to like a mother.

As always, your continued support keeps Women in Action open. Please consider donating as we begin aiming for the 2019/2020 school season.


Donate Toward the 2019/2020 School Season
2019 Graduating class of the Women in Action Development Project

2019 Graduating class of the Women in Action Development Project

Esther Speaks at the Graduation Ceremony

Esther Speaks at the Graduation Ceremony

Audience in Attendance at the Women in Action Graduation Ceremony

Audience in Attendance at the Women in Action Graduation Ceremony

Current Students Attending the Women in Action Graduation Ceremony

Current Students Attending the Women in Action Graduation Ceremony

International Women's Day - Why are You Here Instead of Her? - Revisited

Two years ago, on International Women’s Day, I reflected on a question that was posed to me live on Sierra Leone National Television. "Why do we need another white man telling us about the work that is going on in our own country? If this is another woman's school, why isn't she on the television? Why are you here instead of her?" I want to revisit that story.

Some 8 years ago now, that journey to Sierra Leone also yielded other unintended impacts. Because I had been visible in the community, the landlord at the time, who had taken over the original building Esther’s school resided in, threatened to increase rent rates. and began calling me personally demanding an absurd price to buy the building outright - one of many reasons we moved the school.

International Women’s Day Logo

International Women’s Day Logo

When I was studying International Development, my anthropology professor at the University of Toronto would talk about the power dynamic inherent in development. Simply by being present in the community, there are impacts that are often unanticipated. Because of my origin in the West, even during my first visit to Sierra Leone as an undergraduate student, and as a man, I was ascribed authority although in the midst of people who were experts in their own communities. I realized shortly after my arrival that the way many organizations think of development was coloured by a sense of “white saviour” thinking.

This photo of Esther and I that I use often is actually IN the greenroom before that very interview

This photo of Esther and I that I use often is actually IN the greenroom before that very interview

I am grateful that interviewer reminded me of the dynamic I was creating - and to be mindful of. Going on air was Esther’s idea, because she believed doing so provided credibility for Women in Action by demonstrating the school’s international connections. However, I should have brought her on air with me - a missed opportunity to empower someone else and create space for equity while reminding audiences that a local woman is champion and entrepreneur of this project.

Remaining as Esther’s echo, rather than Esther’s voice, is important to us and I was reminded of that conviction by the interviewer. This is why, wherever possible, I try to ensure the Women in Action Development Project can also share a first person voice. So, on that note, new videos! (below). This video shows the catering classes preparing breakfast for Esther and the staff as a review of things they’ve learned. All this is happening because of you. If not for your recent donations, the school would not presently be open. Furthermore, with some of the funds left over from our most recent donations, Esther said that we were able to help cover some outstanding teacher salary payments. Thank you ALL so much again for your donations.

Also be sure to check out the International Women’s Day movement online at Quoted from the website, International Women’s Day is “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women (Like Esther!) The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women's Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom's Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women's equality.” There are events going on around the world today. Check and see if one is near you.

Once again, my sincerest gratitude to all of you! If you are able to make a contribution in light of International Women’s Day today, it would be greatly appreciated!



Donate for International Women's Day

Esther sits down to a breakfast prepared by the catering classes as an example of their learning for the staff.