In our last post we talked about the impact of Ebola in West Africa. Thankfully neither Esther nor any of the students at the Women in Action Development project have been infected by the virus. However, the school has lost alumni member to Ebola since the outbreak began earlier this year.
While none of the members of the Women in Action Development project are ill, the virus has affected the school and many other businesses and organizations through a strict country-wide regulation of public meeting spaces. As a means of controlling the rate of infection, many businesses and schools have been asked to shut down preventing person to person contact. Women in Action, though a school, also operates as a small business. The school secures contracts for products like clothing and jewellery - crafted by students - as well as services like electrical wiring and catering. Without these contracts, the school fall short on its budget. This means that while the students are already being restricted in their access to education during the outbreak, when the virus is controlled Women in Action may find itself in a huge shortfall for the duration of the year.
We do not have the resources to combat Ebola directly. However, we can help fight the effects of the virus on the Women in Action Development project. We are asking you to help take action to prepare the school for reopening and ensuring that the staff and students hit the ground running as soon as the virus is under control - and we are hopeful that this time will come soon.
The ebola outbreak has also provided us with an opportunity. At the onset of the virus, we were still assisting the struggling Women in Action to make a two-year rent payment demanded by Women in Action's land lord. However, the landlord left with no sign of return during the crisis which has also provided us with some breathing room in making up the remainder of the rent, approximately $4,000 dollars, that we have yet to secure to ensure Esther's school remains open until April of 2016.
You helped us tremendously during the April rent campaign. Your donations helped Esther secure over a year of rent, and we are asking for your assistance again during the Holiday Season. Remember, 100% of your donations go abroad. We don't keep any of it. Any admin expenses come out of our own pockets. Even a gift of your time, in sharing our campaign with others, is greatly appreciated. During our April campaign, your efforts to promote our project saw our Facebook traffic absolutely soar and we were so proud. We had ten times our regular traffic!
Thank you for all your support for Esther and the staff and students of the Women in Action Development Center. We wish you a Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Let's make 2015 and amazing one for that amazing school in Sierra Leone!
Matthew Cimone, Founder and CEO