November 12, 2014
Letter from Patricia Thorpe Finney - Founder, Save Sierra Leone Foundation
The Mama Ruth Ebola Relief Project for the Children of Kroo Bay.
I am writing to solicit your help on a donation drive initiated by members of the Clinard family to support Ebola relief efforts to destitute children in Kroo Bay, Sierra Leone, West Africa. I first want to start by sharing with you a personal encounter that had a lasting influence on me and harbors the singular reason responsible for you receiving this letter from me.
A fortunate encounter with a remarkable family.
From 2011 to March 2014, I had the good fortune to be assigned as a caregiver to a very special and extraordinary individual, Mrs. Ruth Clinard. Mrs. Clinard was a warm and kindhearted lady who despite her health limitations always found a way to make all those around her feel quite welcomed to be in her presence. As my association with her progressed and I got to know her better, I realized that she had a deep passion for humanity. A great communicator whose conversations were always genuinely focused more on my interests than hers, she was keenly interested in learning about my home country of Sierra Leone, its culture, its history and more importantly its people, - especially about the living conditions of children in that part of the world. Her consistent encouragement for me to continue to do what I can to help brighten the lives of marginalized children in Sierra Leone was a definite source of inspiration to me and our interactions were moments I will forever cherish. In 2013, Mrs. Clinard donated cash and some of her late husband's clothing to Save Sierra Leone Foundation. 75 impoverished young Sierra Leonean men benefitted from this donation. Sadly when Mrs. Clinard passed away in March 2014, shortly thereafter and much to my surprise, her children; Alison, Mark and David donated cash and household furnishing collectively valued at over five thousand dollars to me, on their mother's behalf, to assist, with the work my non-profit, Save Sierra Leone Foundation (SSLF) is doing to help enhance education, healthcare and poverty alleviation amongst children in Sierra Leone and in particular, the children of Kroo Bay. With the current Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) crisis creating untold hardships amongst poor children in Sierra Leone today, the Clinards have once again volunteered to assist our Ebola relief efforts to the Children of Kroo Bay in memory of their mother, Mrs. Ruth Clinard who was also a remarkable humanitarian and a valued friend of the children of Kroo Bay.
Kroo Bay - a community most ill prepared for the Ebola crisis.
Kroo Bay is the largest slum in Sierra Leone. It is an area located in the west end coastline of Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone. It houses over 10,000 people living in makeshift shacks in an environment rife with poverty and extremely unsanitary conditions. (See slide show) On any given day in Kroo Bay, children can be seen foraging for food in the rubbish, alongside pigs and dogs. Since 2012, through the generosity of private and institutional benefactors, SSLF has been providing food, clothing, school and medical supplies to the children of Kroo Bay. In June 2014 when we made a distribution to the children of Kroo Bay that included donated items from the Clinards or more specifically from "Mama Ruth" – we chose a donor's name the kids could easily relate to - , the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was in its infantile stage, with only one reported case in the country. Today with the EVD crisis at its peak, poor children have been impacted the most. According to the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) the economic fallout of the EVD crisis have caused more children to die from starvation than from EVD. Based on our own internal reports from volunteers we have in-country, the children of Kroo Bay have been amongst those enduring the greatest hardships and SSLF has decided to make them an integral part of our Ebola relief efforts in Sierra Leone.
The Mama Ruth Ebola Relief Project.
The Clinard family has generously volunteered to assist SSLF's Ebola relief efforts to the children of Kroo Bay. We are extremely grateful for their commitment to our cause and in memory of Mrs. Ruth Clinard, we have named this project: The Mama Ruth Ebola Relief Project for the Children of Kroo Bay.
The Mama Ruth project will be maintained separately from our other projects as we want to attribute specific outcomes to the family's efforts in impacting lives amongst the children of Kroo Bay.
Specifically with the Mama Ruth Project, we want to accomplish the following three objectives for the children of Kroo Bay.
- Provide food & healthcare packages for the period Dec-Mar. 2015 to at least 250 kids.
- Promote an active infection prevention awareness campaign in Kroo Bay
- Initiate a shelter support arrangement for 10 children made orphans by EVD.
How you can help.
You can assist us by making donations to Save Sierra Leone Foundation. Save Sierra Leone Foundation is an IRS 501c3 tax exempt non-profit and your donations which can be made in any one of the following ways listed below may qualify as being tax deductible.
Donations by mail - check or money order
If you choose to make a donation by check, please make your check payable to: "Save Sierra Leone Foundation" and kindly indicate "Mama Ruth" on the check for proper keying towards the project. Mail your donation to:
Save Sierra Leone Foundation. 9405 Ulster Dr. Laurel, MD 20723.
Donations at Wells Fargo Bank
Donations can also be made directly to our account at Wells Fargo Bank.
Name of account: Save Sierra Leone Foundation. Account Number: 200 004 962 2722
In closing I want to once again reiterate our appreciation to the Clinard family for their kindness in initiating this effort, I am also quite heartened to see the USA playing a leading role in addressing the EVD crisis. Americans are once again creating a window of hope in the lives of others, this time in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and for that we are very grateful.
Patricia Thorpe Finney.
Founder, Save Sierra Leone Foundation.