Dec 13 2014

Guest Post: MSF Fundraising Dinner Hears First Hand Ebola Stories

guest_postDecember 9, 2014

The horrors of the Ebola crisis in parts of West Africa was brought home at a fundraising dinner organised by voluntary organisations BTWSC and African Histories Revisited in aid of Medecins Sans Frontieres UK (MSF) last Saturday at Best Western Cumberland Hotel in Harrow.

Guest of honour Stephen Rowden, an MSF volunteer who led a team charged with removing corpses and sanitation, gave a tearful account of the difficult work he undertook in Liberia. However, the sadness was tempered with the positive news that some people who come to the clinic with Ebola recover and are discharged back to their families.

Among the attendees were Sierra Leonean and Liberians, who thanked Rowden and MSF for the work they’re doing in their countries. Rowden gave Liberian Bendu Seigeh Rowden a hug, which is becoming a rare gesture in Ebola-hit areas, whilst Sierra Leonean Eku McGred donated a framed copy of his poem ‘African Child’.

Other guests included past Mayor of Harrow Ms Nana Asante, editor of the-latest.com Marc Wadsworth, former police officer Dr Leroy Logan MBE and his wife Gretl, Brent Cllr James Allie, President of the University of the Arts London African Caribbean Society Kaimo Lutterodt, and founder of Mission Dine Club Dame Betty Asafu-Adjaye.

Over two thousand pounds was raised towards the purchase protective kits for frontline workers. Event organizer and former Harrow Mayoress Awula Serwah said: “We are pleased that the fundraiser was successful. Africans and African led-organisations on the continent and in the Diaspora are doing their bit to help fight the Ebola outbreak. For example, Nigeria has sent health professionals to Ebola-hit countries, and African business leaders meeting in Ethiopia pledged $28.5m to help the African Union mobilise, train and deploy healthcare workers. We chose to fundraise for MSF because the charity is doing a great job, and MSF was one of the first organisations to offer support on the ground. BTWSC and African Histories Revisited are grateful to all those who supported the fundraiser, donated raffle and auction prizes, sent donations, and those who joined us on the day.”

In spite of his emotional time, Rowden added: “It was a wonderful, relaxed occasion and I very much enjoyed my time.

20141212_BTWSCPlease pass on my thanks to all who attended, for their warm and friendly welcome, the interest in the work of MSF, the funds raised and messages of support. It was most humbling. In one aspect, it was like being on a mission – though our time together was relatively short I feel I have made many new friends.”

Ama Butler


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