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UPDATE: On May 9, 2015, the World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola-free. But the road to recovery is long. The medical crisis is over, but there so much to do to rebuild and recover. You can still help.



Mercy is a young entrepreneur and a mother. Her pepper business in Liberia was the main source of income for her large, extended family.
. . .before Ebola took 7 members of her family, including both of her parents and two young siblings

. . .before Ebola infected and weakened her

. . .before Ebola made her an outcast in her community

. . .before Ebola put her out of business, leaving her and the surviving members of her family without income

The wounds of Ebola are healing but the scars run deep. Nearly half of Liberia's population is unemployed. Women and men who have survived Ebola are dying of malnutrition or more treatable diseases because they've lost their livelihoods.

Ebola may be disappearing from the headlines, but the crisis is not over.

The real Ebola recovery is just beginning.

IESC has supported small businesses like Mercy's for more than 50 years. Our work in Liberia continues, but Ebola has dramatically increased the need for these services to help people rebuild.

Mercy is resilient. Liberians are resilient. We can shore up businesses like Mercy’s so that fewer families will worry about where their next meal comes from or if they can afford to send their children to school. Join us in our efforts win the long-term fight against Ebola.

Your contribution could help provide training and other support services that help Liberian businesses not only rebuild, but also prepare to weather future crises:

  • financial literacy
  • business development
  • loan and grant applications
  • re-engaging markets and accessing new markets
  • product diversification
  • food safety and sanitation


IESC's Work in Liberia

Our USAID-funded business expansion program in Liberia (IBEX) is helping the country weather the Ebola crisis by facilitating loans for small businesses and providing technical assistance to banks.

IBEX has worked with clients in the construction, agriculture, general merchandise and trade sectors to access loans and help businesses remain afloat despite the challenges of Ebola. Among them are a company that supplies food to local hospitals and construction companies that are building Ebola treatment centers.

Since the Ebola outbreak, the program has been flooded with requests for assistance for people who have lost their livelihoods.

"There are so many people who need business development services and micro-grants or flexible loans to rebuild their lives after Ebola. Most of these people are traumatized and need special attention."   -- Watchen Bruce, head of IESC operations in Liberia

More about IBEX
More about the IBEX Ebola Response
(Op-Ed) In the Midst of a Health Crisis, Keeping Liberia's Economy Functioning

 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

Clicking "Donate" takes you to PayPal's secure site, which IESC uses to process donations. Your donation will help support our programs in Liberia, but may also support administrative costs and fundraising efforts for activities in Liberia.

Mercy's Story

Mercy Kollie is 25 and the mother of an eight year-old daughter. She lived in a community outside Monrovia with her parents and sold hot peppers at the nearby market to support herself and her family. That is, until the outbreak of Ebola, which took the lives of seven members of her family, including her parents, grandmother, and two young siblings. After caring for her sick relatives, Mercy became sick with Ebola herself. She spent three weeks in the hospital, and is now free of the virus.

Unfortunately, the stigma of Ebola has made her an outcast in the community, and her business has been destroyed. Mercy must now deal with the trauma of losing her business as well as many of the people she loves.

“People stare and point their fingers at me when I walk down the street. Everybody is afraid of me because I am an Ebola survivor,” Mercy explained. This stigmatization has caused her hot pepper business to suffer, and she is now out of business because no one will buy her products.

Mercy only wants to return to her business, because that is all she knows—but she cannot do so without your help. In order to recover from the Ebola crisis, Mercy, like so many others in Liberia, needs help to finance her business and support her remaining family members, who have nowhere else to turn. “I wish to do business because it is the only skill I have as an entrepreneur."