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La Jolla Rotary program helping women in Liberia

Rotary Club of La Jolla members and guests learned a lot about how the money they’ve raised for the new La Jolla Rotary Microcredit Bank is being used in Liberia when Deborah Lindholm of the Foundation for Women discussed the program on Jan. 5.

When he took office in July, club President Bill Burch asked members to raise $20,000 to set up a program to assist women and families in Lofa County, Liberia. They took his challenge and worked through the foundation with the help of Lindholm, a member of the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary who founded and is chief executive officer of the foundation.

Its mission, she told those at the Rotary lunch meeting, is “eliminating poverty through microcredit.”

With loans of as little as $100, the program assists primarily women in setting up businesses — from buying beads and making jewelry to opening restaurants. The program includes lessons and business management and developing business plans.

Lindholm told stories of several women who are in the program and thanked Rotarians for their contributions.

To date, La Jolla Rotary has raised $20,000, half of which is already being used in the program. The other half will be used for sanitation and water services once they have established how to provide them, Burch wrote in the club’s newsletter.

In addition, Burch said last week: “Many of the women in Lofa own dormant coffee plots, and we’re going to help them get their coffee growing. In fact, we’re even going to import their coffee to San Diego and create a market for them.”