Educating impoverished children and their families in Gardnersville, Liberia, with lifesaving skills
Education changes lives, not just of children but of the whole community. Children are messengers, teaching their parents the benefits of lifesaving skills such as good nutrition, hygiene and sanitation.
Liberia, one of the poorest countries in the world, has suffered greatly from the lasting effects of a 14-year civil war ending in 2003. Only a few schools remained open during the conflict, mainly in urban areas, leaving thousands of children out of school. The conflict also destroyed or damaged close to 60 percent of school buildings, including water and sanitation facilities which are key to keeping children, especially girls, in school. Teachers fled the country or took up other forms of employment.
In 2012, just as the country was getting on its feet again, Ebola swept through, decimating the population, leaving 70% of all people under the age of 30 years old.
Liberia is prone to disease with its heavy annual rainfall and very little sanitation. Testing of fresh water by the WHO in 2012 found E coli in 58% of samples. Heavy rainfall also contributes to many mosquito-borne diseases that have an extreme effect on pregnant mothers and children under 5 years old.
The school in Gardnersville currently caters for young children but our vision is to build a dedicated facility to allow these children to enter higher grade schooling.
The International Bureau of Education reports that ‘there is a close connection between illiteracy and poverty at all levels--global, national, and subnational; the countries with the lowest levels of literacy are also the poorest economically.
Poverty breeds illiteracy by forcing children to drop out of school to work, and these illiterate people are forced to stay on the lowest levels of the work force and thus remain in poverty.
Thus, illiteracy in turn reinforces poverty, and poverty is cyclical in families. Women and girls are especially vulnerable to the cycle’.
Key Areas of Investments
- Local education where children can be safely walked to schoo
- Quality education where the majority of children pass their term 3 benchmark exam
- Gender inclusive environment for education
- Inclusion of children with disabilities and diverse ethnicity
- Hot, nutritious lunch when funding allows
- Toileting system and wash facilities
- Work for skilled teachers, male and female and the local community
- Safe forum where parents can meet and discuss local issues
- Female school counsellor to combat tribal superstitions which may lead to harm of young women within their family
- Health education to help instill good hygiene practices