We recently got introduced to Tonia Dabwe who is the Chair of Mineke Foundation, a nonprofit based in the Netherlands dedicated to support the social and economic development of a town of approximately 2700 inhabitants in Liberia, West Africa. Our partnership already started, their Google Grants accounts have been approved and are up and running.
The Foundation is especially close to the heart of Tonia and it is tightly linked to her for family reasons. Dabwe Town is named after her father, Mineke Foundation after her mother. In 1968 her parents Dabwe Wiah and Mineke Muilerman were among the first inhabitants of Dabwe Town. They were convinced that, the people of Liberia needed to increase their sense of self-responsibility and accountability if they wanted to free themselves and their country from the ill-fated dependence on food imports. They started an experimental farm to teach Liberians how to grow their own food. They founded a school to provide quality education. Many other projects followed. For 21 years they dedicated their lives to their community. In 1989 the Liberian civil war started. It destroyed the dream of Dabwe and Mineke and left Dabwe Town in ruins.
Five years ago, in 2009, Tonia gave a new life to the dream of her parents in starting the Mineke Foundation. Through projects like renovation and re-equipping of Damiefa school, baking and soap making, programme coordination, a youth club and several workshops, Tonia and the other volunteers are willing to keep alive the same philosophy her parents had, i.e. that the people of Dabwe town are individually responsible for improving the quality of their lives. In this spirit all the projects are developed and carried out by local people, while the Foundation provides them with financial support, training and education, and technical expertise. For example Baking and Soap Making is a project dedicated to the women and youth. Women of Dabwe Town teach other women of the community. Those who were trained yesterday, share their knowledge with others today. A project that could eventually enable these women to set up a small business and become economically independent. Certainly not an easy goal to achieve, but very important to rebuild the community spirit.
We are very happy to give our small contribution helping Mineke Foundation to make a big difference to their people.