Esther's Echo

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.

-Matthew

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

We Kept Women in Action Open Another Semester! Now On to Giving Tuesday!

Echoers!

Great news! In August we were running a fundraising campaign to see if we could close out 2018’s rent for Esther. And we did! We got all the funding we needed by the end of the month and transferred the funds. Through September, Esther brought the funds to the landlord and we waited as Esther negotiated with the landlord because we were late and they were starting to threaten legal action. But I recently received confirmation that we are okay at least until the end of this year.

Wire transfer receipt to Women in Action for the balance that YOU helped fundraise! Hoorah!

Wire transfer receipt to Women in Action for the balance that YOU helped fundraise! Hoorah!

So here is where I share our next two fundraising goals. By April, I’d like to ensure Esther has all the rent paid for 2019 which will be another 7,000 USD. 2500 of that we need by the end of December to allow Esther to remain for the Spring semester.

What about the second goal? Here is where things get more exciting. Over the last year, I’ve been talking about plans to build Esther her own building. I’ve wanted to do this for years because it means that our funding dollars aren’t just paying rent, but actually providing a space that BELONGS to Women in Action itself. That would mean that future donated dollars can ALL go directly to expanding curriculum, paying teacher salaries, and lowering student fees. Some of our funding already accomplishes these more exciting budget line items, but a majority of the funding goes to landlords. Rent is important. It keeps the school operating. But ultimately we want something more sustainable. How much will that cost? Originally, I thought the costs would be much higher – in excess of 100,000 USD. However, Esther has drawn up a plan with an engineer and it is more like 35,000 USD which is amazing. The school already has a plot of land to construct the new space which we helped to purchase a few years ago.

Activities resume for the Fall Semester at Women in Action

Activities resume for the Fall Semester at Women in Action

In addition, to help get things started, the staff and students have already started to construct parts of the building that they can do on their own.

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How can you help? Giving Tuesday is coming November 27th! Please consider us again this year. Last year’s Giving Tuesday was the single largest fundraising day we ever had. Our first goal is to cover the more immediate need which is Esther’s Rent. Anything in addition to that goal we raise between now and April will go to the construction project. You can find our profile at: https://givingtuesday.ca/partners/esthers-echo.

Thank you all so much again for your continued support! Also, welcome to our new donors who helped us during the August fundraising push!

Sincerely,

Matthew

Donate Today!

Happy New Year! It Was Our Best Giving Season Ever!

Dear Echoers

Happy New Year!!

Between Giving Tuesday on November 29th and Christmas, you helped us fundraise $1,507 US. This funding marked the most successful giving season we’ve had to date. More importantly, the donations put us 7 dollars over the target we needed to clear the deficit in Esther’s rent on her new building in Freetown. We have already wired the donations and are now waiting on confirmation that they were received at the bank in Freetown. 

We have an exciting start to 2017. First, Mulgrave Secondary moved its Action for Esther fundraiser to early this year on a result of a snow storm in December. I haven’t seen this much snow on the West Coast in the six years I’ve lived here. The snow was beautiful but also caused a number of school closures. However, the delay means that we can get 2017 off to a great fundraising start thanks to the efforts of students and staff at Mulgrave. Secondly, I am eager to hear the results of the Roddenberry Foundation Prize which I’ve been told by the foundation should be made available in February. Esther’s Echo was one of over 600 applications submitted so there is certainly competition. I am proud of our application and have hope! If successful, we could receive between 150K to 400K US in funding. If you didn’t catch the video entry we made for the Roddenberry Prize, you can find it here.

Thank you all for your generosity in 2016! You have my sincerest gratitude. Here's to an even grander 2017 as we continue to help Esther and the staff and students of the Women in Action Development Project.

Sincerely,

Matthew

International Women's Day

March 8th is the annual celebration of International Women's Day

International Women's Day began in the early 1900's with marches for improved working conditions for women in an industrializing age. What began with a worker's movement in New York City spread around the world from developed to developing countries. Today, thousands of events are held around the world in celebration of IWD through community groups, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions to support the equality and rights of women and girls. This year's theme: Make it Happen: For greater Awareness of Women's Equality. 

My own experience with the global reach of International Women's Day was a greeting from Esther online this morning wishing us a "Happy International Women's Day." This is why I love Esther and am always inspired by her. There she is, carrying a torch that ignited in New York over a hundred years ago, and holding it proudly as she supports vulnerable women and girls in the midst of one of the most underdeveloped regions of the world. I am proud to share her story online as she continues to be a relentless champion of women's rights and education. 

But it's not just Esther's story I am sharing today. Esther has sent me a few bios of students enrolled at the school this year. I will be posting them online; representatives of Esther's school. In the meantime, here is the first. Allow me to introduce Sarah Cole. This is her bio in her own words. She represents one of the students you are supporting by supporting Esther's school, the Women in Action Development Project. Donate Today by clicking the link below. Also be sure to check out the International Women's Day website at www.internationalwomensday.com

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THE STORY OF SARAH COLE: 

Program: Nutrition and Food

I came from a family of Nine (9) and I am the eighth (8) child. I lost my father about two years ago and one of my sister also died few month after my father’s death.

However, I want to say that I did not actually benefited much from my biological parents simply because we were many in number so they could not afford to send me to school, and so because of this, I was always at home doing domestic work and I was going around working for people that can afford to pay whatever little amount for my up keep. One day, one of my mother’s friend decided to take me and help me with my school fees. It was not too long that this woman stop to pay my fees because according to her she has her own children and family to take care of, so she ask me to return to my parents. I had to return home again doing nothing.

The only option that was left open for me was to go into love affair with guys that will help me out in my domestic up keep as my parent could not just afford it. In this vein, I became pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl who will turn 3 years in August 2014.

However, I have come to realize that such is not life so I decided to join the Women in Action family to gain knowledge in skills training and I am now proud of being part of this wonderful family as they have transform my life completely and they have let me know that I must not only depend on men or anyone else to take care of myself or my child. Since my admission, I have gain a lot as I can now prepare quite a good number of food and have also learn a lot on internal decoration and Arts and Craft work so I want to thank God for Women in Action especially the staffs who have made it possible for me.

I am now planning at the end of my course to be self-reliant by opening my own restaurant and employ my Sisters who are seeking for job.

I therefore want to ask the Government, NGO’s, Donors and all well-wishers to come on-board and help us achieve our goal.    

Donate to the Women in Action Development Project