Not everyone can be a big-dollars philanthropist. But most of us would throw up a high-five in support of those fighting Ebola. Why not a $5 bill?
Help the NarSarah Clinic and its community partners in Sierra Leone's Koinadugu District contain the spread of Ebola through village education, appropriate clinical supplies, and the installation of Tippy Taps, hanging jugs that dispense chlorinated water. I'm looking for 1,000 everyday people to offer a digital "high five" of solidarity and support.
Koinadugu--the largest, most remote, and poorest province in Sierra Leone--was the last district to see a confirmed Ebola case, in part because of an excellent community-led monitoring and education outreach program. Now that Ebola has crept into the district, it's essential that staff at the NarSarah Clinic have the medical gear and functioning transportation they need to maintain life-saving programs. More than 20,000 people have now contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. The numbers are climbing exponentially every day.
Although the SEED NarSarah Clinic receives most of its funding from donors in the United States, the clinic was founded by a Sierra Leonean nurse who dreamed of operating a clinic in her mother's village. Today the clinic is entirely staffed by Sierra Leoneans and is well-regarded by local hospitals, NGOs, and the general population. The clinic is uniquely positioned to coordinate prevention efforts.
As Clinic Administrator Robert Jawara recently told me, “The truth is, we have to understand that Ebola is real and we have to prevent it. [Villagers] will listen more to people they know--their sons, daughters--than somebody who goes into their community for the first time." Health educators from NarSarah often spend several days in villages, establishing deep relationships of trust that international aid NGOs may not be able to forge during an emergency.
This fundraising campaign is but one small chunk of a $100,000 push to help the clinic meets its new challenges. The funds will purchase materials for Tippy Taps, wages for health workers, new motorbikes, and a Toyota Land Cruiser capable of transporting materials down the harrowing, 4-wheel-drive-only roads to remote villages.
Of course, you may donate more than $5 if you're able. But even a few bucks creates an invaluable sense of solidarity--and it will add up!
SEED NarSarah Clinic is a 501c3 non-profit organization. You can send checks to SEED, c/o Hope and Les Law, 25271 Westridge Road, Golden, CO 80403. (Let me know what you send so I can add you to the tally.) If you donate through Crowdrise, there will be a minimum of $10, and please tack on an extra .25 per $5, since we lose 5% of donations via this system.
And please, send this appeal on to your family and friends.
Why me?: I first visited Sierra Leone in 2007 as part of a Colorado College Sociology course called "Development and Underdevelopment." We studied the international aid climate in post-conflict Sierra Leone--and in the meantime, I fell in love. I returned in 2011 as a Visiting Artist with the SEED Creative Arts Initiative (see my past Crowdrise fundraisers), and have kept in touch with Sierra Leonean friends via Facebook since, also remaining involved with the nonprofit. It has been heartbreaking to receive messages like "Kati, Ebola is killing my people" via Facebook in the middle of a normal day. It's time to stop the spread.