Reyna with the kids in Fiamah, Monrovia, Liberia

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Will you be one of the 250 people to give $20 to establish Doors of Hope in Africa?

3 weeks away from my upcoming trip to Liberia and I am super excited to get there and to get working on setting up this sponsorship program for the youth and former child soldiers at Cornerstone Academy and Journeys Against Violence. Our organization is still in need of $5, 000 to meet our goal of $10,000 to establish this work. When I look at that number, sometimes, for a moment, I am tempted to despair. But then I remember that God, my God, owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He is the Creator and Sustainer of everything and everyone in this precious world. So what is $5,000 to Him?
I also think of my brothers and sisters in Liberia who have persevered through so many obstacles and against so many insurmountable odds, and I think that the least I can do is work my butt off here to support them as they rebuild their country. With that in mind, I am asking for 250 partners over these next two weeks. 250 people who will be willing to invest $20 in this work of sponsoring education. 
Many people have already given and I am so thankful for that and I have been so encouraged. Some have been good friends of mine, some have been people who I am barely acquainted with yet they have caught on to this vision.

So if you invest in this work, what exactly are you investing in? I am glad you asked:) Doors of Hope, the NGO that I am establishing in Liberia, has the mission of empowering youth and former child soldiers through education. We are partnering specifically with 2 groups in Monrovia, Liberia. One is a school, Cornerstone Academy, which provides free education to the poorest of the poor, the street sellers and children of disabled parents. Most of the children's parents are disabled because of injuries sustained in the war. Cornerstone currently has 55 students, grades K-5th, although the ages range from 4 to 22. The school is free, but operates on little resources and is unable to pay its staff or provide any books or school supplies for the students. Starting our sponsorship program there will ensure that the children are able to stay in school and that the quality of their education improves. One of the things I plan to do when I go in March is to help with the construction of a portable library and Doors of Hope has already collected a ton of books here to start stocking it.
The other organization is Journeys Against Violence, which is essentially a rehab program for former child soldiers run by a former rebel general who had a spiritual transformation and is now passionate about seeing these young men get their lives back and be productive members of society again. We are hoping to hire a teacher to come to the compound where these 12 young men live and provide them with lessons 3 nights a week. This type of alternative education is the best place to start for these guys since most schools do not want them at this point. In the future, Doors of Hope will sponsor these young men as they complete their education.
If you know anything about Liberia, you know that the needs are great. I spoke with someone recently who had lived and worked there for awhile, and he said that Liberia makes Haiti look like a resort. While a little crass, he is not far from the truth. The needs are great, but the people there are so determined to pick up the pieces and move on to better things. It is this determination that I feed off of and that drives me in the work I am trying to do here.
So, 2 weeks, 250 people, $20 each. I believe that people will step up and help Doors of Hope meet our goal. I look forward to going to Liberia in March with the funds in hand to get these projects going . I will keep a running tally of this fundraising blitz on Facebook, Twitter, etc. so people know how close we are getting to the goal. Please if you read this and you care, invest $20 and then send this to your friends, family, help get the word out to as many people as possible. Let me know first what your pledge is so that I can update the tally, and then you can donate in several ways:through Paypal (to or you can send a check or cash to Ruth Rivera, Doors of Hope Foundation, 2026 N. Mozart Street, Chicago, IL 60647. 

Much love and blessings to you all!