Women in Action

Two New Homes for Women in Action!

Hello Echoers!

Lots of updates to share!

First off - through your donations this past Summer and into the early Fall, we managed to successfully relocate the Women in Action Development Project to their new home following their eviction from the previous building. We managed to raise nearly all the funding we needed to cover a year of rent at the new location. The new landlords agreed to let the school move in with the bit of funding we still need to raise with the understanding that we will continue to do so. We are just shy about 1000US dollars. Again, thank you all so very much. You are helping Esther’s work continue and once again a new class of young women has enrolled and begun this year’s school season.

Also! Women in Action has expanded to a SECOND location! Esther was talking about the possibility of doing this for a few years now. She was interested in ensuring access for rural women to the centre’s vocational studies. The second centre, which is located in the Port Loko region of Sierra Leone, opened this past Monday. It is in a building that Women in Action is renting in combination with Red Cross which operates the building. The advantage is that the equipment and supplies are already present - including a whole classroom of computers! - which saves a lot of money in comparison to opening a new location from scratch. An official opening event for the new school will happen on February 14th to coincide with the founding of the first Women in Action Development Project

Esther at the new Port Loko Location

Esther at the new Port Loko Location

Computers at the Port Loko Location

Computers at the Port Loko Location

Freetown is where the first Women in Action Centre is located. Port Loko is shown here where the new location is located.

Freetown is where the first Women in Action Centre is located. Port Loko is shown here where the new location is located.

Also, you might recall our purchase of farmland two years ago. Well the crops were hard hit by flooding in the two years since, but Esther sent these images of crops growing on the land just recently which is great news! These crops are sold to help fund school operations.

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Once again, all of this awesome news - the relocation, the expansion to a second location, and the farmland - wouldn’t have been possible without all your support. Also a big thanks to those of you have been donating on Facebook. We have run THREE successful Facebook fundraisers now including the most recent this past August for my birthday! So thank you to our growing community of Esther’s Echo supporters! Be sure to find us on Facebook as well!

I will continue to send updates as they come. Keep a look out for our Holiday fundraising campaign which will begin December 3rd with Giving Tuesday!

-Matthew

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Join Our Board of Directors!

Hello Echoers!

I had mentioned in my post last month celebrating this year's graduating class that I had three other exciting announcements to make. Two of them are bundled together in this e-mail. First, we are moving forward with our plans to transition Esther's Echo from a registered non-profit to a registered charity in the coming months. Esther's Echo is currently an incorporated non-profit organization. But until we also register as a Canadian Charity, we cannot issue charitable tax receipts which, I believe, will give us access to a larger donor pool and larger donations culminating in the construction of a new building for Esther and the Women in Action Development Project. The second exciting thing is that, in order to transition, we are looking for a new individual to join our Board of Directors!

What does becoming a board member for Esther's Echo look like? 

We are looking for a social justice warrior who is passionate about women's rights, women's education, equity, and has experience related to international development, fundraising, working in the non-profit sector, and communication. If your skills, passion, and experience fall in this range, or you have other cool skills and experiences you feel would be helpful to our organization and are interested in being a more integral part of what we do, send me an e-mail. (Some of you have already reached out to me when we made a post through Facebook. Thank you for doing so. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you and you are still on our list of candidates.) In terms of time commitment, we would need somebody willing to connect by e-mail with the other board members and myself a few times each month, be available for board meetings once every quarter, and be willing to participate in and organize fundraisers for the organization at least once a year. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen to apply.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support of the organization. Once again, without all of you we wouldn't have pictures like these below! 

Keep an eye out for exciting announcement 3! 

-Matthew


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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. 

Support Women in Action Today!



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

Donate to the Women in Action Development Project Today!
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

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