Jefferson Smith is turning 40 (!) years old. I’m asking to help me send him to Africa.
A few years ago, Jefferson learned of the work of Eddie Jarwolo. Eddie lives in his native Liberia, where he is empowering Liberian youth to participate in democracy through his N.G.O., NAYMOTE. Eddie got inspiration spending several months here in Portland with the Oregon Bus Project through the Community Solutions Program. http://1.usa.gov/19VwcJK
From Eddie and his allies, Jefferson heard stories of fighting in ways beyond the rhetorical. About local efforts to improve a system that was less than a decade removed from civil war. About efforts to engage young people to pick up books and democracy rather than rifles. Unlike in the U.S., teaching democracy in Liberia is a life or death matter. Eddie means to change this through education, advocacy, and community organizing.
Jefferson shared with me that quote above -- that our liberation is bound together. He has talked about wanting to do this trip for years, and there is truly no better time. This journey is an opportunity for Jefferson to get a closer perspective from people working on democracy with so much at stake. Right now is an ideal time for him to do just that. While in Liberia, Jefferson will participate in work sessions alongside Eddie, his team and the young people he works with.
Jeff doesn’t presume he might do much to help, but he is certain that there is much to learn. So this is personal.
I want to give Jefferson this gift. I am inviting you to join me in giving it.
It also goes beyond personal. We know that in a country with 85% unemployment, Eddie’s work needs resources. We are told $100/month goes a long way to help a young person in Liberia work towards a better life, and Eddie hopes to offer paid internships. So anything we can raise over basic travel expenses for two people (Jeff plus a working travel companion; I can’t go -- someone has to take care of George!) will be given to support Eddie’s work in Liberia.
If you can, pitch in to the birthday present.
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