After more than 6 months of schools closure caused by devastation of the Ebola virus crisis, school children have finally begun returning to school!
What does this mean to us?
During the heat of the Ebola virus outbreak all of our projects and activities in Liberia were put on hold. We immediately turned to supporting Ebola victims and survivors. Smile Liberia can now return to providing much needed educational support to children in need. Already, we have partnered with several organizations that are helping to collect school supplies and sanitary items for children and schools benefiting from our programs.
Thanks for your continual support!
We know you miss hearing from us and we apologize!
During our few months of silence, we have been busy trying to play our part in the fight against Ebola. So far, we have made a $1,000 cash contribution to local groups that provide food, water, and other incentives to victims at Ebola holding centers in Liberia. Also, we worked with MedShare and the local Liberian Community Association in Charlotte last month to send 100 boxes of medical supplies and PPEs, as well as assorted antiseptics and disinfectants to Liberia.
We have also established 2 initiatives in Liberia to help in post Ebola crises. The Ebola Survivor Reintegration Program will work with Ebola survivors returning to their communities. Since most of the survivors have either been stigmatized or lost everything they had, we will help provide care packages (food, clothing, etc.) and basic social counseling for them. Our second initiative is the Kids Pre-school Preparation Program.
Due to the Ebola crisis, all schools are currently closed in Liberia. The Kids Pre-school Preparation Program aims to provide in-home basic math and reading assistance to school-aged children in communities badly hit by Ebola. We believe this initiative will help keep the children engaged with learning while they wait for the reopening of schools.
As we eagerly await the complete containment and eradication of Ebola, we will continue to do everything we can to help in the process. Finally, we will be remiss not to thank you for all the support you have provided. It was through your generous giving that we were able to respond to the Ebola crisis, and will continue to provide support for communities affected.
Some Bad and Good News...
First the Bad News
For a very long time our kids at Children Hope Community School (West Point, Monrovia) have had to walk up to a mile to use the nearest public toilet. Another sad reality is that they had to share toilets with almost the entire community. Not only is this sad but it also poses some serious health risks to the children.
Now the Good News!
In the near future, our kids will not have to experience this deplorable toilet situation. We are currently undertaking a mini-project to build a 2-room flush toilet for the boys and girls at Children Hope Community School. This toilet will be conveniently located in the school’s vicinity and will be accessible for only the students and faculty. This is a huge need at Children Hope and the effort has been highly applauded by the children and the entire West Point community.
Mini Project Status:
We have raised 60% of the funds needed to construct the toilet and will initiate the project when we reach 80%.
As Smile Liberia continues to strive towards helping provide education for children living in poverty, our Liberia staff recently visited a community in Monrovia known as the "Rock Crushers" community. In this community, hundreds of children spend their days laboring in rock fields to earn a little or nothing to help feed themselves and their families. These children crush rocks all day to sell to construction companies.
When we asked a number of the children why they spent their time in the rock fields, their responses were simple, "our parents cannot afford to send us to school" (some of them are orphans and cannot afford to go to school). Most of them look forward to spending their time in the rock fields because that's their only means of affording a day's meal and other basic needs.
Devastated by this, Smile Liberia has committed to changing the lifestyle of these children. Our goal is to provide children in the "Rock Crushers" community opportunities of going to school and get them out of the rock fields. In 2014, we will be raising money to sponsor the education of 20 of these children. By the end of 2016, it is our goal to raise enough funds to sponsor the education of 100 children in this community.
Children in the West Point community will be coming together this Saturday, December 21st, to celebrate the holiday season in honor of the work Smile Liberia is doing in that community. Most of the children celebrating are beneficiaries of Smile Liberia scholarship program, and students from the Children Hope Community School. The children are glad to be given an opportunity of becoming successful someday.
We want to express our sincerest thanks and gratitude to all our supporters. Without your contributions and support, the future of many boys and girls living in poverty would have remained bleak. We wish you Happy Holidays and are looking forward to another year of great partnership!
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