We at Sierra Leone Foundation for New Democracy hope that you and your family and community are healthy and safe and cared for right now, and our hearts go out to the hundreds of thousands who are not.
In moments like this of great uncertainty, many indigenous knowledge systems turn to nature for guidance. One of nature's teachings is that it cannot be separated from what is called the human or social world. The corona virus is reminding us that we are already related—the earth and all its peoples—and as a global community, we are only as strong as our weakest members. The virus is also teaching us that the decisions we face today are related to decisions made yesterday and decisions that we will have to make—as well as those that will be available for us to make—tomorrow.
Sierra Leone has just registered its first case of the virus. In anticipation—having experienced the public health, economic development, and educational consequences of Ebola—the government had already ordered schools to be closed this week. While Dovalema Early Childhood Co-op is closed, SLFND is committed to continuing to pay its school-teachers and staff as well as Ta-Valema Permaculture Farm & Learning Lab's eco-site workers, who will maintain physical distance while tending to the farm.
This is not only to provide Mondema with food while individual villagers' mobility is restricted, and may be further limited if they face illness or the need to care for those who are ill. It is also to make good on our commitment to provide those born, raised, and living in Mondema—as opposed to those living in the cities or outside Sierra Leone—with income. And it is to contribute to the longer-term outcome of food sovereignty and soil resilience, based on the knowledge that environmental degradation was directly tied to the spread of Ebola and is tied to disease more generally.
I am writing now to thank you for your genuine partnership with SLFND, which resulted in Sierra Leone's first village preschool. I am also writing to acknowledge that moments like these make it difficult to part with sources of financial security. And yet I am asking those of you who can to build on your past support to sustain this very important work of growing deep, earth democracy—precisely the world the coronavirus is teaching us we need—from the ground up.
What we see today in Mondema could never have happened without your genuine partnership—it is a testament to the interconnectedness among peoples and the earth. SLFND has never received any philanthropic or government funding. Our work depends entirely on grassroots mobilization, individual donations, and intentional partnerships so that we remain accountable to our constituents. We intentionally have no professionalized grant-writing or marketing staff, as paying for such a staff would divert funding from the work in Sierra Leone in addition to displacing local knowledge and opportunities for income generation. Our only paid staff are Sierra Leoneans living in Sierra Leone, who have an intimate understanding of the issues we are addressing.
Will you invest in our dream of connectedness among peoples and the earth, wounds healing, and creativity flowing? Please show your support for mass critical literacy, food sovereignty and soil resilience, and cooperative economics by becoming a sustaining member of SLFND at $10 per month or donating to a specific fund.
Yours in solidarity,
Founder & Executive Director
on behalf of the SLFND team