Street Child opens new school in Old Lady Town, Liberia
Liberia has the highest proportion (62%) of children missing out on primary school in the world, with the crux of the problem being in the extremely remote South East region called Maryland. In 2016, recognising Street Child’s successful pilot education projects in Liberia and enormous Ebola response, the government of Liberia awarded Street Child 12 Government Schools to operate in Western Liberia followed by 11 schools in Maryland. Maryland is in the far south-eastern corner of Liberia, a gruelling 2.5 day drive from the capital, Monrovia. This has left the region isolated from government and NGO support, leaving both access to education and learning outcomes far below the national average.
The physical needs of the 11 schools in Maryland was shocking and Street Child immediately set out to find funds for vital repairs and construction to ensure conducive environments for over 4,000 children to learn. This included plans to construct one new six classroom school from scratch replacing an old, dilapidated mud and stick structure with overcrowded classrooms and unpaved, dusty floors.
Construction work for the new school in Old Lady Town started in early 2018 with the local community providing unskilled labour and locally available materials and a grant from the Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission being used to fund the cost of other materials and skilled labour. As with all Street Child projects, community engagement and partnership were seen as key to the success of the project, ensuring support for education both now and into the future.
Completed by July 2018, ahead of the rainy season, the new school opened in September ready for the new school year. In October the dedication ceremony was attended by local officials, chiefs and community elders and as reported in the Liberian press, Sarah Y. Davis, chair of the Parents Teachers Association for the school, thanked Street Child for the construction and described the new building as a rejuvenation of the education sector in the town, saying “Street Child Liberia has played their part. It is now our responsibility to make sure that this building is clean and maintained. I can assure Street Child Liberia and the county authority that I will work with my parents to set up a committee that will be responsible for maintenance of the building.”
Read the full report in the local press here: http://www.bushchicken.com/street-child-builds-us25000-school-in-maryland/