Holiday Season

At the Model United Nations and Best Giving Tuesday Yet!

Hello Echoers!

This past November had two highlights that we wanted to share! First, Matthew was chosen as keynote speaker for the Connect Model United Nations conference in Vancouver this year. Past speakers have included names like Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. Matthew's talk brought together our work with Esther's Echo seen through the lens of Matthew's passion for space and space exploration; an orbital perspective where the world is seen from above and where we share common hopes and challenges. In Matthew's words "from space, and I use the word 'astronomical' literally here, our differences become astronomically tiny and our similarities astronomically large." The work of Esther's Echo was shared with over 300 high school delegates and teachers in attendance at the Model United Nations conference where Matthew encouraged them to think cooperatively rather than competitively about the challenges facing our world. 

Matthew presenting at the Connect MUN Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver

Matthew presenting at the Connect MUN Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver

We also wanted to celebrate Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday, on November 28th, marked the start of the Holiday Giving Season. This year, we tallied a record $2700! All in ONE day! Thank you all so very much for your generosity! This is the most successful Giving Tuesday campaign we've ever had. Esther is not quite in the clear yet, however. We've helped raise about half of what she needs to clear rent on the building that houses the Women in Action Development Project. Without the rest, Esther could be forced to take out expensive loans, reduce teachers pay, or increase school fees. We want to help avoid all that so are calling on you to help by donating or sharing our story with others. To those of you who have already supported Esther's work, our sincerest thanks! You are helping to keep over two hundred young women and children in school and daycare programs. We will continue to update you all as we head into the Holidays! All the best on Holiday preparations!

Happy New Year! Hours Left to Donate for 2014

Hello Echoers!

Thanks to your support, we raised $850 over the Holidays for Esther's school, the Women in Action Development Project. That puts our total fundraising for 2014 in at $8750 dollars - the largest year we've had! Between the two biggest challenges the school faced this year - potential eviction from the land lord and the threat of Ebola - you all came through in helping to support Esther and her school. Our most sincere gratitude to all of you who donated this year, with special thanks to the Simon Fraser University Teaching Support Staff Union and the "Action for Esther" Team at Mulgrave Secondary School in West Vancouver.

But 2014 isn't over yet! You can still count your donation toward our 2014 year, perhaps getting us to $1000 for the Holiday Fundraiser campaign (or more!) Your donation helps support teacher's salaries, school supplies, rent on the school building and - especially during the Ebola threat - helps Women in Action catchup on a funding shortfall they've experienced while being shut down through the crisis unable to fundraise on their own. 

You can donate through the button below:

The Esther's Echo team wishes you all the best for 2015. As we work to tell a different story of Africa, may next year be filled with your own great story of your impact in the world! 

Sincerely,

Matthew Cimone, Founder and CEO

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Founder Matthew Cimone with Esther Kanu in Sierra Leone

Founder Matthew Cimone with Esther Kanu in Sierra Leone



Consider Esther's Echo this Holiday Season

Dear Echoers, 

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! 

Huge Boost in Facebook Page views thanks to you during our April Campaign!

Huge Boost in Facebook Page views thanks to you during our April Campaign!

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!

Donate to the Women in Action Development Center


Sincerely,

Matthew Cimone, Founder and CEO