Women in Action

Support Women's Education in Sierra Leone on International Women's Day

Hey Echoers!

It's International Women's Day! Today, across the globe, IWD celebrates the achievements of women in sciences, politics, and social justice while calling for gender equality. International Women's day has been observed since the early 1900's beginning with marches in New York. The reach of IWD has since crossed borders and boundaries. Esther herself writes me on IWD from Sierra Leone.

Women in Action also hosts a community of young children in their education program

Women in Action also hosts a community of young children in their education program

In our support of Esther's school, the Women in Action Development Project, and in recognition of International Women's Day in March, we are extending our donor matching campaign until the end of the month. In February, I promised to personally match any donations that came in as February marked the 20th anniversary of Women in Action's founding. 

This month is particularly important for us. Since December, Esther has been working diligently to relocate Women in Action. The new building has been found and Esther is hoping to secure the space by the start of April. The down payment for year's rent on the loation is $5000USD. With your support and with Esther's own fundraising efforts, we are now up to $3000! We're almost there!

I'm calling on you all to help us secure Esther into her new space. The new building will help us provide her project with new stability as Esther continues to radically change the lives of vulnerable women and girls living in one of the most challenging places in the world to be. 

For more on International Women's Day see this great article by the Telegraph that also talks about today's Google Doodle. 

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First Rent Donation is Sent!

Hello Echoers,

Thanks to all of your support, we just sent the first portion of our rent campaign donation to the Women in Action Development Project last week. Last Friday, we transferred $3000US to Esther and her school. There is $1500 that is still in cue from donations made to the Esther's Echo website from last week. These take about a week to get to our account from credit card transactions. At the end of this week, we will wire those donations as well. 

With the $4500 you contributed to the campaign combined with $2000 from Esther's efforts overseas, the combined $6500 is enough to cover at least one year of rent at Women in Action producing a whole new generation of graduates from the program. What we need to do now is convince the Landlord to accept a year of funding as he was hoping for a two year lease. I have had several conversations with them now and they seem receptive. Esther has also expressed a receptive attitude in her own dealings with him. 

We will continue to keep you all posted as events unfold at the school through May. Thank you for your support and remember that we are still trying to hit that 10K mark! 

Sincerely,

Matthew

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Esther Kanu (centre, red hair) with Staff, and Students of Women in Action

Esther Kanu (centre, red hair) with Staff, and Students of Women in Action

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!

Sincerely, 

Matthew Cimone - Founder/CEO

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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