Billions of dollars in aid go overseas each year. I was a part of that aid industry. My name is Matthew Cimone. I am the founder of Esther's Echo. In 2004, I spent one year in Africa, working in Sierra Leone. 30,000 US dollars was spent by the organization I was working for to to put me, one aid worker, in the field for a year. That 30,000 dollars covered my allowances, insurance, travel costs, food, fuel, housing and the local staff we hired in country. It was during that year I met Esther Kanu. Esther, a local of Sierra Leone, had founded her own school in the midst of poverty and war to provide new opportunities to young women in the war-torn country. Each year, the school had an enrolment of approximately 50 girls. The cost of operating her school? About 50,000 dollars.
I began to ask myself two questions. First, if there was so much aid money coming into Sierra Leone, why hadn't any of it found its way to individuals like Esther? Secondly, why am I better suited to working in this environment that such a large portion of donor dollars should be spent putting me in the field over supporting somebody like Esther who has lived in this country her whole life and will continue to do so work in Sierra Leone long after I have left?
We believe that putting funding directly in the hands of local leaders like Esther is a far more effective way of making change happen on the ground. Our role is to promote her story and her work to help find leaders like her support from the international community where she can take one dollar and make it worth a hundred times more in Sierra Leone. We know that funding is going directly where it needs to go and can share the new chapters of Esther's story with you as your support helps her to continue and expand her work in partnership with us.
Founded in January of 2013, our mission is to find local visionaries and leaders like Esther and help them take their projects to the next level making them an even larger force for change in their communities by sharing their projects with you!