Mulgrave School

GivingTuesday, Action for Esther, and The Roddenberry Foundation

Dear Echoers,

Lots of exciting updates since our last message!

First off, today is GivingTuesday! GivingTuesday was created as a "Canadian movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Cyber Monday. The "Opening day of the giving season," it is a day where charities, companies, and individuals join together to share commitments, rally for favourite causes and think about others." Esther's Echo has its own partner page on the GivingTuesday website. You can find a link to the page here: If you are thinking of giving today, please consider us!

A big thank you to those of you who already donated following our Thanksgiving e-mail. We raised just over 600USD for Esther's relocation fund. That brings the total outstanding balance needed to fully move the Women in Action Development Project to approximately 1400USD. My hope is that we can close this gap before the end of the year. Thankfully, we also have the support of Mulgrave Secondary School in West Vancouver again this coming December. I was contacted by Antony Wilson, Mulgrave's Global Education and Outreach Coordinator, letting me know that "Action for Esther" is on again this year. For the last 3 years, Mulgrave has hosted Action for Esther which not only brings in support for Esther's School but engages students about issues abroad. I have been fortunate enough to speak at the event in the past to share Esther's work in Freetown. Mulgrave's support will go a long way to helping us clear the remainder of Esther's payment to the new landlord. You can check out more about Action for Esther here:

Action4Esther Promo Graphic

Action4Esther Promo Graphic

Finally, I have one more item to share that I'm very excited about. In my other life, I am currently producing a film called Chasing Atlantis. The film began as a journey to see the last space shuttle launch in 2011 and grew into an exploration of why space has always captured my imagination and the imagination of those we've interviewed. Along the way, we met and interviewed Rod Roddenberry. Rod is the son of Gene Roddenberry who created the science fiction television show Star Trek. Rod is now the lead on the Roddenberry Foundation which endeavours to fund projects that further the values and ideals depicted in Star Trek like education, technology, and social justice. Recently, the Roddenberry Foundation ran a competition for the "Roddenberry Prize" which is seeking bold new initiatives to change the world. The prizes range from 150,000USD to 400,000USD. I've submitted an application for the prize on behalf of Esther's Echo. I've always loved blending my love of the stars with my love of the planet and its people. The more we study the stars, I believe we find that many more reasons to cherish our planet and the life that it cradles. My goal with the prize is twofold: First, build an entirely new facility for Esther so that we never have to worry about rent and landlords again. And secondly, to engage an entirely new potential donor community through the people we've met while working on Chasing Atlantis - space and science fiction fans. The video submission below, which was part of a larger written application, explains my vision for how this community could help support our work overseas. We will hear the results of our application in February! Also a big thanks to Cam Sylvester, founder of Capilano University's Global Stewardship program which sponsored Esther's visit to Canada in 2012, for his willingness to serve as a reference for our Roddenberry Prize application.

My sincerest thanks to you all again for your continued support as we help to tell a different story of Africa!


Days left to Save Esther's School

Dear Echoers!

April has passed and Esther's landlord is starting to really put the pressure on. Within days, he may decide to evict the Women in Action Development Project, Esther's school. But here's the incredible news on what we've accomplished so far.

We've hit the $4000K mark! In two weeks that is amazing! Combined with Esther's savings in country, that puts us at just under $6K, about enough to cover one year of rent on Esther's building. The land lord was hoping for 2 (but pushing for 5). I have now connected with the landlord directly over the phone. He is also based in Freetown, Sierra Leone. My plan is to negotiate with him to determine what we can do if funding come up short of the 2 years and to look toward buying his building outright in the future. I will keep everybody posted on how this goes. 

After our initial round of e-mails to friends and family, we had an initial influx of donations including one $1000 contribution from the students and staff at Mulgrave School in West Vancouver. A HUGE thanks to Tony Wilson and the students of the "Action for Esther" campaign for their support. Your donation within days of us beginning this campaign was wind in our sails!

Last week, I received word that the Chronicle Journal Newspaper in Thunder Bay, Ontario (my home town) ran our fundraising letter reaching the entire North Western Ontario community. This week, as a result of the article, we received a series of donations in the mail across the whole region from Slate River, to Thunder Bay, to Nipigon. Know that a school in West Africa is very grateful to you and so are we!

My TEDx talk from University of Toronto Scarborough, which incorporates a story about Esther and her work, went live this week! It has had nearly 350 views already sharing the news about our project overseas with online viewers. If you haven't had the chance to check it out yet, please do so!

I am aware of a few more fundraisers going on out there! Thank you for reaching out to us and running an event in your community, we are going to be looking to send funds out by early next week, so anything that comes through by Monday will go in the first wire transfer over to Women in Action! Thank you all so much for your support!


Matthew Cimone - Founder/CEO

Donate Now to Help Save Women in Action

PS, got some new photos from Esther at school celebrations for the end of semester graduation they had recently. 

Students and Staff at Women in Action: Esther is at the centre of photo in pink

Students and Staff at Women in Action: Esther is at the centre of photo in pink

A passionate valedictorian speech

A passionate valedictorian speech

Children in Esther's "Kiddies Foundation" child education program. These children are from a neighbouring slum region of the city that Esther is seeking to empower

Children in Esther's "Kiddies Foundation" child education program. These children are from a neighbouring slum region of the city that Esther is seeking to empower