Vision Awake Africa for Development

VAAFD was founded by Liberian refugees in Ghana with a purpose of bettering the lives of Liberians in both Ghana and Liberia, irrespective of race, sex and religious affiliations. VAAFD's programmes are centered on EDUCATION as the cornerstone to the empowerment of their community. The main aim is to build a school and self-sustaining environment for 850 unaccompanied minors in the town of Suakoko, Liberia.

Vision Awake Africa for Development
PO Box 855 Paynesville, Bssa Town
1001 Monrovia 10, NA
Liberia
+2316971085
http://www.vaafd.org

Founder & Executive Director

Karrus Hayes

Management Team

Karrus Hayes, Lance Gonyon, Rev. Yayah Harris, Robert Abidege, Garmondeh Johnson, Philip Cooper, Sam Payne

Board of Directors

Prince Goenybah, Samuel Kpalleh, Koiwu scott, Cecelia Nimely, Karrus Hayes, Rev. Briggsfford Johson, Emmanuel M Kolleh, Doewleh k Bessman, Eugenia Stewart, Othelo B Kpehe, Philemona M Komoyan, John Z Mulbah, Benson Dunor, Mr Amos Togbah, Rufus Roberts, Cyrus Johnson, Robert G Gbogar, Abraham Revees, Walton B Obiamiwe, Thomas V Fahuwu, Mr.Steveson Seidi, Saye Vah, Harris Mulbah, Rich Brown, Philip G Tarlay, Mrs Honey Eva Kebakile Mamabolo, Eugene Williams, Lance Gonyon, Rev. Yayah Harris, Robert Abidege, Garmondeh Johnson, Philip Cooper, Sam Payne

Project Leaders

Karrus Hayes
Hannah Garrard

Mission

VAAFD was founded by Liberian refugees in Ghana with a purpose of bettering the lives of Liberians in both Ghana and Liberia, irrespective of race, sex and religious affiliations. VAAFD's programmes are centered on EDUCATION as the cornerstone to the empowerment of their community. The main aim is to build a school and self-sustaining environment for 850 unaccompanied minors in the town of Suakoko, Liberia.

Programs

Education Carolyn A. Miller Elementary School Carolyn A. Miller Elementary School (CAMES) was founded in 2003 with the mission to provide a tuition-free education for the neediest children living on the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana. Many of these students are orphans or unaccompanied minors who were separated from their parents while fleeing the war. However, even families still left intact find it very difficult to feed their children on a regular basis, let alone pay for school tuition, supplies, and uniforms. Growing up in extreme poverty through both Liberian civil wars, Karrus Hayes understood the unique educational needs of the refugee children living in Buduburam. With nothing to call his own except an incredible vision, he rallied community support, borrowed $50 USD and accepted donated space from his church to start the first tuition-free school for some of Liberia's most vulnerable children. In the beginning, students eagerly packed themselves into low-ceilinged, bamboo-partitioned, sweltering rooms. However, by 2005, the school was beyond maximum capacity at 150 students. It became apparent that CAMES needed more space than the local parish could provide. With little funds but the need for a new venue, Karrus found an abandoned building with no roof and a dirt floor. Though many could hardly imagine this becoming a functioning school, Karrus and the children of CAMES shared a common vision - new classrooms with desks and a library full of books. In an international effort known as Ten Days Mission, this once dilapidated building morphed into a clean conducive atmosphere for learning, with modern conveniences such as electricity, running water and flush toilets. Nine classrooms now cradle more than 500 energetic children in pursuit of an education, while the dedicated staff teaches a rigorous curriculum of English, Mathematics, Science, French, Religious Morals and Education, Drama, and an Introduction to Computers course. After school activities include a number of sports programs, a pen-pal exchange, and several social clubs which are supported by faculty, volunteers and the Parent Teacher Association. In addition to providing a solid education, effective September 2007, CAMES incorporated a School Feeding Program (Niapele Project). For many of these students it is the only meal they receive on a regular basis. Carolyn A. Miller High School The Carolyn A. Miller High School was founded in October of 2007 in response to the dire need of elementary school graduates to be able to continue their education and for other adolescent refugees who had been out of school due to lack of funds. This new opportunity is vital for the poorest of the poor and is the lifeline for the most vulnerable children in Buduburam. The Carolyn A. Miller High School currently employs 17 instructors and 2 support staff. They in turn provide 250 students with a tuition-free education for Grades 7-11 and will incorporate grade 12 in 2008. A special focus of this institution is to prepare its students for the West African Examinations which occur in grades 9 and 12. Currently, the pass rate of this standardized exam is around 5% for Buduburam refugees. Students must pass the Grade 12 Exam in order to receive high school graduate certification. In addition to a rigorous curriculum, these students are offered the opportunity to engage in after-school activities ranging from drama to music to sports to the debate team. Adult Literacy Program Many Liberian adults have completed little to no formal education due to the war or simply because they do not have the financial means to pay for an education. VAAFD provides a free opportunity for adults on the Buduburam Refugee Camp to learn and practice English. Teachers enable students to develop a basic understanding of English through written and oral communication exercises. Youth Empowerment and Scholarship Program It is estimated that 80-90% of the children on the camp do not attend school. Many do not attend because of tuition fees and basic school costs (books, writing utensils, uniforms, etc.). Although the Carolyn A. Miller schools are tuition-free, they cannot possibly accept everyone. This program provides limited scholarships to deserving children who cannot attend elementary or high school. Also works in collaboration with Two Steps Forward, an organization that sponsors selected children for their books, school supplies, exam fees, etc. Orphan Assistance Because of the war, disease and poverty, many children on the Buduburam camp have been left to fend for themselves. With little money or basic care, many orphans are out of school and trying to find a way to physically survive. VAAFD's mission is to help these vulnerable children by providing basic necessities (food, water, clothing, etc.) as well as an opportunity to receive an education. HIV / Health Health concerns plague refugees on the Buduburam camp. With the assistance of Saint Gregory's clinic, VAAFD's initiatives are two-fold: Provide counseling and support for those infected with debilitating and life-threatening illnesses. Orphans Against AIDS, a supporter of VAAFD, works to help children who have lost parents or family due to HIV. Educate the community about STD's and other diseases inherent in camp-life through adult education workshops and school awareness programs. NUCH, an initiative started by a previous volunteer, works with VAAFD to provide free basic hospital care to all teachers and students of CAMES. Water & Sanitation Although it is available for purchase throughout the Buduburam camp, fresh water is still a luxury for many. VAAFD aims to provide portable water for those in need. Poor sanitation is a problem that has escalated throughout the years on the camp. Pollution is prevalent, resulting in a deterioration of the land and water supply. VAAFD's mission is to educated the population on the importance of proper sanitation practices such as the creation of more garbage bins on the camp. Microfinance Microfinance is known as 'lending for the poor'. It is meant to empower those in extreme poverty and give them the opportunity to ear a sustainable income through small-scale businesses and ventures. VAAFD provides a small number of basic loans to selected refugees on the camp. We continue to work with these refugees on the development of the businesses and provide guidance and training where necessary. This initiative is in its beginning stages and still in development Agriculture Before the civil war, agriculture was the main source of livelihood for the great majority of Liberians. When the time comes to migrate back to Liberia, VAAFD hopes to ensure that the most efficient and sustainable agricultural practices and techniques are known and understood by all. This initiative is still in development

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