Amidst the visit of United States First Lady Michelle Obama to Liberia Monday to promote girls education here, Building Relations through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement or BRIDGE Liberia for short, has provided textbooks, book bags and computers to the J. W. Pearson Elementary School in Monrovia.
BRIDGE in partnership with the Ministry of Education has already begun filling gaps in male and female enrollment here, and improving quality of education for children by donating school materials. The Chief Strategy Officer for Bridge Partnership Schools in Liberia, Mrs. Shannon May said the organization, as a committed and trusted partner of the Government of Liberia, and an ardent champion for girls’ education around the world, “We honor Mrs. Obama’s visit with this symbolic event to demonstrate the commitments in our hearts to promote education for all girls in Liberia.”
She said it is incumbent upon all to break the barriers and ensure girls enter school and do remain in school to become whatever they aspire for themselves, stressing that the retention of girls in schools is a national imperative.
“This responsibility falls on every Liberian, on every parent and on all of us who seek a better Liberia for our children and generations yet unborn. The better Liberia we seek cannot be better if it will not be a place where we create more of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and more of Michelle Obama”, she added.
Bridge Partnership Schools is part of the national movement to dramatically improve education in Liberia. “We are, together with the Government and other partners creating powerful public schools, which are trusted and safe places of learning. Our commitment is thus to ensure that every child, irrespective of gender and other backgrounds, can reach their full potentials within the school setting. We are creating schools where our girls can find safety and security as they make themselves for the future”, Mrs. May said.
She recognizing the enormous challenges facing education and the inhibiting barriers to girls’ education, the Government of Liberia has moved to initiate Partnership Schools with the aim to bring global expertise to bear on the intractable issues that haunt the nation’s education system. The Government’s aim, she noted, is to ensure that, as Liberia rebuilds, and moves towards the attainment of a middle income status in the years ahead, girls are not left behind.
Also speaking Monday, 27 June at the donation program, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor of Bong County said girls’ education is very important in every country because girls are future leaders and they sustain the whole world.
Senator Taylor said as chairperson on education in the Liberian Senate, she will work with the Ministry of Education and the administration of the J. W. Pearson School to elevate the institution to sixth grade level.
In response, the school Principal Mrs. Denedi H. Saygbe said she was delighted following news that Bridge was coming to donate materials to the school, adding that she is very impressed that her school was selected among thousands of schools in the country to benefit.
She also praised Senator Taylor for her promise to take the school to sixth grade level, while urging parents to help with the education of their children because they spend less time in school than at home.
By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne