Statement Sept. 2020: Author Joe Gbeie
Two years ago, Emmanuel A. Williams had been the first to create a vivid group of responsible minded youngsters in love with life and powerful ideas. Induced by the yearly African Child Day people met in the Centre of Monrovia, made up plans and discussed ideas with open minded adults. The Board Members of From Street to School and the Youth Organization of the archdiocese of Monrovia contributed.
Why do we work with girls and boys on Empowerment through Information?
Liberian Women were those who brought peace to Liberia and struggled to run the country better. But already in 2010 the UN stated a Violent Backlash. “Ironically some of the advances made by Liberian women have complicated their efforts to work together to achieve more. One thing we’ve seen in post-war Liberia is serious competition amongst women. It is not helpful in terms of making more gains. They feel they no longer need to collaborate to get there. We have this huge surge of girls going to school and women are excelling, but the collective way we embraced peace building is disintegrating because everyone is seeing herself as the next big thing. …
There are also signs of a violent backlash by some Liberian men. Initially there was a feeling among some of them that ‘The men have failed, lets give it to the women.’ But now you get ‘You people have had it …The country’s continuing high rates of rape and sexual assault partly reflect that change in attitude. We believe strongly that these are some of the backlashes for women getting overly empowered and really stepping out to do things they never really ventured to do. So yes, we have women being empowered. But we have serious concerns about what women are going through in their home setting and in the community.” (From AFRICA RENEWAL, April 2010, Michael Flechman citing an interview with Leemah Gbowee).
This is how Voice of the Voiceless works in 2020/2021:
Motivation: Recent statistics show, that the number of sexual Gender Base Violence case have already risen above 90% of the cases of Last year by June. And most of the children been abused are under the ages of 18 years.
General: Adolescent in various schools will be educated to fully protect themselves and their friends against sexual Gender Base Violence such as sex for grades, sexual harassment, rape and the effect of early sex among other.
First: After this education has been established in schools, students and teachers will be encouraged to carry out the awareness at least once each month.
Second: Teachers, Principles and Parents will be involved and trained to let the seeds grow, that we sowed. To keep frustration as low as possible, we offer secure and regular observation and supervision opportunities.
Who we are:
We are volonteers in our twenties and thirties who have received a training on supervising activities concerning Empowerment through Information. Most of us are still studying in college or university, but some are already working in the field of medical treatment and education or as tutors of younger students.
Organizational and Financial Background: Let’s Inform to Empower (LIFE,Liberia), is a Liberian non-profit-organization. The program will reach more than thousands of students in all of our 50 partner-schools within the one academic calendar year. The School Year starts in December 2020. Preparation courses have been already settled. Through Let’s Inform to Empower, teachers will be trained to fully utilize his/her authority at the School for the sustainability of the program in providing oversight. Let’s Inform to Empower (LIFE)will also provide opportunities for our students to experience first-hand various of solving their socio-economic, and academic challenges, as well as standing up against social injustice and abuse. They will also learn from our team on how to report sexual exploitation case.
Further financial support is needed urgently, now. Liberia has been running into an economic crises the year before the Corona-Pandemic forced the lock down. The bad education standard, the family backgrounds in poverty, war and unemployment bear disadvantages that hits the children who cannot help it.
You can help!
Please turn to the confidence of From Street to School und Globales Lernen to benefit our children, especially the girls. Every Dollar will reach us! – Reference: Voice of the Voiceless.
From Street to School und Globales Lernen e.V.
IBAN: DE12 7015 0000 0905 2449 84
Statement Oct. 2019: Author Father Johnny
As the coordinator of From Street to School Board, I want to acquaint you first with the opening of School for academic 2019/20.
We are sponsoring 48 students this academic year and they are registered in 18 schools including 1 tuition free(public school). Government schools are all tuition free as school attendence is obligatory by law in Liberia.
Nevertheless, a little amount is charged for Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) and uniform. That’s about 47USD in total per school year. Fees in general do not include textbooks. All textbooks are bought or rented since the end of the war in 2003. Even at book rental the books are unaffordable for some of the students.
Families in Monrovia are often overfilled with children from the country, because relatives there believe that the city will offer better social status or greener pasture by default.
One challenging point about government schools is that they lack control, teachers and space – classrooms are crowded, quality of lessons all too often would be disappointing. Many see private and mission schools to be more reliable.
From Street to School paid fees in private schools for 43 students in August 2019. The others will be paid as we receive donations. Fees range from 80 to 250 USD/Semester depending on quality of lessons and grades/level of students.
The school year started on Sept. 2, 2019. Our students began classes immediately.
I was out of the country in Nairobi Kenya for some youth outreach programme from September 1-14, 2019.
While in Nairobi, I ran youth programmes for 550 school going children and 50 young people in vocational training school. It was a learning process for me- learning more about children and young people and the culture of Kenya, in a sense Global Learning.
I travelled with an 8-man/woman team- 5 from Liberia( 4 Liberians and an American, 1 girl included), 1 from Togo and 2 from Ghana. The programme was in three faces- SAFARI, to kids between the ages of 7 to 13 years, QUEST- kids between the ages of 14 to 18 years and KOIN for 19 years above. The programmes were developed to help kids develop their self-esteem, build up their listening skills, learning leadership skills, making good decisions and following instructions.
Knowledge and experience are won through games, jokes/fun, play, sharing of experiences and group/team presentation. We’d workshop for all the kids and youngsters.
We stayed in Nairobi of the poor to run our programmes. I was surprised about the social structure of this old colonial city, which is so different in comparison with our Monrovia.
Upon my return home I decided to share the knowledge with other kids and youngsters. We ran our first SAFARI for one of the schools we’ve one student, Shirley Kolmer School. 40 students participated. It was awesome and joyous.
We’re planning to run SAFARI and QUEST in schools where we have our students particularly and extend to other institutions.
Second, I want to give you an idea about how I am helping students . I am helping the students by visiting their campuses and checking progress reports; keeping in contact with their families and organizing gatherings, excursions and workshops for them.
Our students are spread all over the city. We also have few students in other counties – Nimba, Margibi and Bong.
Students being spread over the city is actually due to the story of Pro Liberia- but we feel assured through many experiences with students who restarted there school lives in another school. The setting of following the students and not a single school doesn’t have advantages only, but as we have it we accept the disadvantages as are mainly: coping with distances in respect of communication and travelling.
Monrovia doesn’t provid public transport for students hence, children, mainly girls won’t be well-received travelling on their own.
Third point of my today’s talk for Voice of Liberia are the workshops and gatherings we’ve planned for October: October 19- students gathering( games and outing), October 26- students workshop, December 26-31 kids/youth camp and excursion outside city.
With those activities we match students from different social backgrounds in working group. They would learn to work together and learn by teaching their peers.
My last point are the challenges. First let me mention those to be faced by the students. The economic and monetary crisis in Liberia is affecting our students in a very distinctive manner. Some are complaining of not having meals before going to school and their parents don’t offer them lunch money. Another challenge is with text books, backpacks and school uniforms.
I stop counting here, because I know that help from outside won’t help enough to achieve sustainable change especially if it’s more and more about basic human needs. We want students read and reflect, but would have to feed them first!
Daily life is so filled with some little challenge and all are used to
complaining. This is because most feel that the future at the horizon of their lives is blur. I am working on the field of convincing young people of a life that’s worth living because of moral order and awareness.
In conclusion may I share with you my personal background. I am mainly working as a catholic priest. This has made me to achieve lot from European education and way of life. After my priestly studies I did further studies at a master’s level in Education Administration and Supervision. With this progress in my life, I am zealous to share with others my experience and education.
On a formal base of such support I’m offering service to the youth of our Diocese, From Street to School and the Stella Maris University through workshops and lectures.
When I reflect on all changes and occurances during the last 5 years I find political and health desasters, happy moments with students and other situations that lead a meaningful and hope life.
Unfortunately, validation of the steps of From Street to School as an organization towards autonomous structures appears ambivalent presently. We are not a one man show there in Liberia. We are actually a group people trying our best we can to develop strong and vibrant organization.
We established fix traditions, policies and helpful student-activities over the years and we are raising funds to sustain our students. This is done in non-corrupt way; all is transparent.
With all this we’ve not yet managed to settle traditions and meaningful rituals in the board of the organization and in the cooperation with schools and teachers of private and public schools. We are no quitters and with the help of our friends surely will succeed one day!