Growing Liberia’s Children’s chairperson, Michelle Des Jardins, and intern, Matthew Hicks, recently returned from a trip to Liberia. While in Liberia, they visited St. Paul’s school and met with teachers, administrators, students, and parents. One purpose of the trip was to explore the possibility of building a junior high school to serve the community. Presently, most children end their education after completing sixth grade because of the lack of a local junior high school and the inability to pay tuition. We at Growing Liberia’s Children hope to address this challenge. Another purpose of this trip was to visit the proposed site for a farm to support St. Paul’s school and provide agricultural training to the St. Paul’s students. The development of this farm and two additional farms will be done in cooperation with Lima Rural Development Foundation, a South African non-profit organization. Intern Matthew Hicks is a photographer and videographer. In addition to having snapped many of the photographs on this website, he will be preparing a short documentary about Liberia’s challenges following a devastating civil war and how GLC is meeting these challenges.
Over eight years ago, Growing Liberia’s Children was able to re-open St. Paul’s primary school in Liberia with a full staff of qualified teachers. Since that time, we have been providing quality education each year to more than 200 children in a community where only a small percentage of school-age children are attending school due to poverty and the destruction of the educational system during the war.
As we look to 2017, we are excited to continue to help St. Paul’s grow and prosper by providing student scholarships and financing teachers’ salaries. We are also very excited to report several pending developments in 2017:
- Involvement with Lima, an agricultural non-profit rural development foundation. LIMA is proposing a strategic long-term farming initiative to promote sustainable agriculture livelihoods in the St. Paul’s community, as well as build human capacity in technical agricultural practice and professions. This will allows the St. Paul’s community to learn about farming and benefit financially from this project.
- We will also be partnering with a Liberian polytechnic college, Stella Maris, to provide internships through the agricultural projects LIMA and GLC are developing.
- In additional, GLC is evaluating the feasibility of adding a junior high to the existing elementary school at St. Paul’s School. There are few educational opportunities beyond elementary school in the larger St. Paul’s community, and as a result, few students in the area continue their education beyond the sixth grade. A junior high school at St. Paul’s would enable more students to continue their education in order to provide a better future.
Together, we are making an enormous difference in the lives of the children in the st. Paul’s community and the future of Liberia.
Billy Hobson, a Senior at St. Augustine High School, is distributing and collecting coins for education for the Children Scholarship Fund for St. Paul’s school. Lean more by getting involved here!
Growing Liberia’s Children wishes to thank you, our supporters, for making all of these efforts possible. Because of you, over two hundred children who may not otherwise be able to afford an education have been able to attend St. Paul’s school since GLC began supporting it in 2008. And we have been able to lend a helping hand to other schools in need by providing school furnishings, books, and other supplies. Your ongoing contributions will help us continue to rebuild educational opportunities in Liberia.
While schools remained shuttered to prevent the spread of Ebola, thieves broke into the Charles and Janet Memorial Institute, a small school serving preschool and elementary-school students in Brewerville, Liberia. The thieves stole all of the school’s furnishings. Responding to an appeal by the school’s principal, GLC provided funds to refurnish the school so that the children could return to school in February.
With the apparent containment of the Ebola outbreak, Liberia’s Ministry of Education announced the commencement of the school year on February 16, 2015. Still reeling from the devastating effects of the Ebola outbreak, St. Paul’s teachers and students were excited to get back to the classroom. Upon their return, they were treated to St. Paul’s new look, compliments of a new roof and paint job as part of a grant from GLC.
And along with a new look comes a new program structure at the school. St. Paul’s has announced that the school day will now be divided into morning and afternoon sessions. The morning session will consist of pre-school to fourth-grade classes while the afternoon session will consist of fifth through seventh-grade classes. The change will provide more room for teachers and students and contribute to a better learning environment. Looking forward, St. Paul’s plans to add an eighth-grade class next year and a ninth-grade class in 2017.
In 2014, Growing Liberia’s Children was looking forward to the new school year, but no child in Liberia would return to school in 2014, because Ebola had struck their country, claiming thousands of lives, and in an effort to control the spread of Ebola, the Liberian government had closed all schools. These measures significantly worsened Liberia’s already fragile economy and exacerbated unemployment, which was over 80%. Out of work because of the government-imposed shut downs, many St. Paul’s families and staff found it difficult just to put food on the table. GLC initiated an Ebola Relief Campaign through fundraisers and was able to provide two distributions of rice and palm oil to over one hundred families of St. Paul’s school and church, and stipends for St. Paul’s staff while school was closed.
Members of the St. Paul’s community shared their gratitude for this assistance. “We sincerely thank and appreciate GLC and our good friends in the United States for the grant approvals related to the Ebola crisis, which struck a deadly blow to the already drowning Liberian economy,” stated J. Sando Momolu, Chairman of the Aiding Liberia’s Children Board of Directors, which oversees St. Paul’s school. One recipient of food stuffs wept as she received a hundred-pound bag of rice, exclaiming that it was as if the heavens had open up to pour down these blessings on her family.