By Alva M. Wolokolie
A local group, Foundation For Women (FFW) in the business of giving out loans to empower local women in partnership with its USA-based partner EDIFY has provided twenty five thousand United States dollars (USD$ 25,000.00) loan to five private schools.
It is expected that the loan would be paid at a very low interest within two years.
Schools benefiting from the loan program include; Covenant Nurturing Center, Abundant Grace Elementary School, David Lombel Memorial High School, Wat Daycare Elementary and Junior High School and the F-Sham of Faith Girls High School in Paynesville.
Presenting the checks to the benefiting schools, the Chief Executive Officer of the Organization, Mrs. Emily Guegbeh Peal explained that the project is a pilot project and has being carried out with support from EDIFY, an international organization based in the US.
Mrs. Peal, also a humanitarian told the audience that in June 2013, her organization (FFW) and the US based-Organization EDIFY signed a memorandum of understanding to make it possible for many private Christian schools in Liberia to have access to cash loans that will enable them to expand their infrastructure.
She suggested that the schools could either use the loans to build additional classrooms, Equip their computer Labs, or purchase a school bus,” Mrs. Peal said.
Mrs. Peal disclosed that the aim of the loan program is to provide loan capital to schools in order to enable them deliver quality and affordable education to the children of Liberia in the midst of the numerous challenges.
Peal said, “These ‘edupreneurs’ provide surprisingly robust education-often far superior to the government alternative, when one exists. Our partner EDIFY, a non-profit Organization registered in the US is focused on delivering 3 key resources to help Christian ‘edupreneurs’ lift their communities out of poverty.”
She said capital is needed to expand facilities at affordable private Christian schools, thereby increasing access to education for the poor, curricula and other tools to strengthen schools’ Christian message and training and business and teacher training for proprietors and educators to improve education.
The FFW CEO further said the loan program will help school administrators to employ qualified teachers something she said will help the students to prepare for future challenges. “Some schools that I visited, I was surprised to see that the kids were sitting on the floor so one of such school will receive loan to buy benches to stop the children from sitting on the floor, and with the help of God I am pleased to say that a local NGO from nowhere is helping to make education the best in Liberia,” she added.
Speaking earlier Vice President Joseph Boakai described the initiative by FFW as some of the good things that are happening in the country that people should talk about.
He also commended founders of private schools for their effort in providing education for children of the community which they operate from and described their efforts as support to government efforts.
He expressed hope that such program will bring about what he called a new reform dimension to the schools themselves by improving the quality of the students they put out and the quality of the environment where the children learn.
VP said, “This is a very worthy program and I hope that we team up with you to ensure that more funds are provided. I don’t always like to see people from abroad doing everything; we ourselves have to show that these programs support our efforts and we should be committed to them.”
He described the initiative as a step in the right direction and promised to mobilize more supports to make the program bigger and cautioned benefiting schools to utilize the loans, and build better future in the children.
Speaking on behalf of benefiting schools, Mrs. Sarah Taylor, Principal of the F-Sham High school thanked the organization for the trust imposed in them and promised to pay back their loans at the required time.
FFW is a local Microcredit women loan organization established since 2007 and has a current membership of seven thousand in 14 of the 15 counties in Liberia.
The Organization according to its CEO besides providing loans to women is also providing Microcredit loans to people who are physically challenged, blind and are beggars with an aim to reinstating dignity in them.
EDIFY is a California based nonprofit religious organization that provides access to quality education to impoverished children. According to FFW the organization has in less than 10 years provided loans to 660 schools that have impacted more than 178,703 students in Africa, India, South American countries and many other developing countries of the world.