2011 05 May
12:39pm

Helping Out Liberia

Those of you who attended one of our events this year with Doug Saunders, Linda McQuaig or Dave Bidini might remember a couple of things:  

1. The events were amazing

2. They were free

and 

3.  We asked everyone who attended to  donate what they could to help out our friends in Liberia.

We were completely overwhelmed by the support of all those who attended and we were able to raise just under $1000!    

Here's why we chose to donate to Liberia (for those of you who did not attend an event last year).

Last year, our good friend and former Octoteamer Jackie Wallace, left Ottawa to pursue a degree in International Development.  Upon completion she set sail for Liberia  to work with local farmers and the World Food Program to help Liberians rebuild a sustainable, community based food industry so they can stop relying on aid and expensive imports.  It's kinda like the 100-mile food diet but WAY WAY more important and intense.

Jackie has been keeping a stellar blog at areyouthereliberia.blogspot.com with some  inspiring, heartwrenching, and informative posts. Discussing all that the Liberian people have suffered  through years of war and their heroic efforts to rebuild their country in the face of massive corruption, violence, and the double edged sword of international development.  Jackie also does a great job of giving her readers an inside look at what it's like to be an international aid worker Liberia and all the joys and hardships that can bring.

Her first post is below and it does a far better job of explaining her work than I could hope to.

http://areyouthereliberia.blogspot.com/2010/08/project.html

After hearing Jackie's stories , we felt strongly that we needed to try to contribute in some way. We decided our excellent lineup of  Fall events were the best source of generating money we could think of.  At Octopus we've always tried to keep our events free since we believe that the authors we host and the ideas they share are too important for someone to miss because they can't afford the ticket.  We asked all of you who attended  to (if you could)  donate what you would have paid for the ticket to Liberia.  After 3 events with Doug Saunder (Arrival City), Linda McQuaid (The Trouble with Billionaires), and Dave  Bidini (Home and Away) we had raised over $700.  

Given the rampant corruption in Liberia we were warned by Jackie that just sending the money through any old aid organization would mean very little of the money would actually reach the communities we wanted to help.  Western Union would take %30 so we couldn't just send it to Jackie to use in her project.  We were stumped.  After a over a month of emailing back and forth Lisa was able to get in touch with PLAN. They are an organization that Jackie has worked with and feels confident will be able to funnel the money directly to those who need it. The great news is that this project is in partnership with the Global Fund and your gift to this project will be matched 6:1. That means the $1000 we have donated, is worth $7000.00, which will go a long way.   If you want to read about the specific program please follow these links. 

http://plan-international.org/where-we-work/africa/liberia

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7726126/HIV%20AIDS%20support%20in%20Liberia.pdf

So, on a day when many might feel blue about recent election news, we hope this will be a bright spot in your day!

Thank you for your support of Octopus, our events, and for your support of this fund raising drive!!

xo, your octo-team.


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