About 200 residents of Edina, Grand Bassa County have benefited several items, including 125 pieces of uniforms, textbooks and book bags. Smile Liberia says it is always in the vanguard of providing school materials to students in rural parts of the country, noting that the decision is based on low level of support rural residents receive from national government.
Speaking to UNMIL Radio’s “Coffee Break”, on Tuesday, 20 September Executive Director Prince Parker said his organization has been providing humanitarian support to students, whose parents are unable to send them to school in the rural areas.
“Smile Liberia was moved by the deplorable condition of those kids in Edina, Grand Bassa, because they have crossed rivers to come to Buchanan just for school, and we thought it wise that since they are eager to learn”, he said.
He emphasized a need to buttress their efforts by providing them with the necessary school materials they need to enroll and remain in school, saying it is against this backdrop that Smile Liberia has started to provide themthese assistance.
The Executive Director said the group launched the “sending the students” program in December last year in the county, which targeted about 200 students, saying “you can agree with us that our target has been met in this county, and hopefully we are also considering the extension of the humanitarian aid to other counties, especially those rural students whose parents cannot afford to send their children to school.”
Mr. Parker said the objective is to make sure rural children remain in school. What we encountered during our assessment was not encouraging at all, because you could see the living condition of those kids, including their parents; it was clear that they are unable to render support to their children, and this is where our partners and donors came in with more financial assistance in order to support these children.”
He noted that Liberia has a large number of children and youth who are beyond the age of primary education, but who have had almost no learning opportunities at all, noting that youth unemployment is a constant feature of life in Liberia; a potential trigger of instability.
By Lewis S. Teh