Kids Educational Engagement Project(KEEP) Kicks of Tools for Learning Notebook Distribution With Love A Child Orphanage
Monrovia – Weeks after Liberia was declared free of the deadly Ebola virus outbreak, Brenda Brewer Moore is still on the road, dishing out educational materials and ensuring that the project she started at the height of the outbreak continues to keep needy and neglected orphans and children in Liberia in the learning mode.
Liberia was declared free of the deadly virus in January, effectively putting an end to the world’s worst outbreak of the disease. The “end of active transmission” was declared, after 42 days without a new case in Liberia. Guinea and Sierra Leone have also been declared free.
On Monday, Brenda and her Kids Educational Engagement Project were at the Love A Child Orphanage off the Robertsfield Highway where Mother Rebecca Weh and her group of orphans were on hand to receive notebooks donated to KEEP by Tools for Learning, a U.S.-based initiative founded by Mr. Murray Bass, an 83 year-old who has devoted his retirement years to the cause of reversing the decline in children’s literacy levels by creating and personally funding/running a not-for-profit that serves a community of several thousand pre-schoolers annually, ensuring they enter school already literate. His work began in 2001.
Tools for Learning Steps in
Brenda says her organization connected with Tools for Learning last January and in October, Mr. Bass was ready to step in. “He told us that he was able to get some donation of books. So both his organization and keep managed to get them to Liberia and we got them actually in the month of January that’s when we were able to get them cleared from the port of Monrovia.
At the Love A Child Orphanage Tuesday, Mrs. Moore explained that the orphanage is one of the her organization first reached out to. “We actually reached out to in terms of providing home-schooling kits and so last year when schools were being reopened we came by and gave like almost every child here a book bag containing notebook, pencils, sharpeners and geometry sets.”
Liberia has been struggling to deal with some 6,000 children who lost one or both parents to Ebola. Some are with a surviving parent, others found loving homes with friends or relatives, but many have been left orphaned on the streets or are finding it tough to adapt to new lives with host families.
Moore says the donation from Tools for Learning came at an appropriate time for the kids. “Recently we received a donation of about 14,000 notebooks and of course you always start back with the groups that you helped before. So Love A Child being closer to us, we decided to start with the school and besides most of the children here are orphans. We try to support the work that Mother Rebecca is doing.
KEEP took some 480 notebooks to the orphanage on Monday to the delight of some 27 orphan kids who were eager to get started.
Notebooks a Big Help for Kids
Genevieve Davis, 9, says she does not know what happened to her parents but held but felt good that she has notebooks to write her homework. “I feel so happy about the notebook”
Her sister, Alice Davis, 11, says the notebooks will help them to write with ease. “Sometimes they gave us assignment and we do not have any means of writing our homework, the notebooks will really help us to do that.”
Fitzgerald Randolph Julius Morgan, a shy 4-year-old in Kindergarten 2, nodded in agreement.
For Mrs. Moore, the notebooks are a big relief for the orphanage. “ We are always happy to support the children especially since first semester has concluded. They will be looking forward to second semester. So that is one extra cost that will be off the shoulders of the orphanage for the children. So each child here will receive one dozen or one carton of notebook.”
Mother Weh says most of the children in the orphanage are orphans: “Some lost one parent, maybe the father or the mother, others lost both. Most of them we don’t know where the parents are so they are here.”
Mother Weh says the orphanage is happy for the notebooks which will make learning easier for the kids. “It is going to take off half of the burden from our shoulders because it would have been difficult finding the money to go and buy these notebooks.”
In Liberia, the government rarely gets involved in helping orphanages like Love A Child which caters to some 27 children including those sent by caregivers. “We have services, we do our activities, prayer meetings and bible studies and they have choir practice like today we have Christian education also not just in the classrooms but to know about Christ who is the to all of us lives,” Mother Weh says.
Mother Weh says the orphanage barely gets by and is hanging on to the mercy of goodwill. “Just how the Kids Engagement Project was touched to bring these copy books that is how others are touched to make donations to us. Sometime people come with one or two bags of rice or a gallon of oil to help us with the kids – and that’s how we are being fed.”
With Ebola over, Mrs. Moore has reinvented the wheel and sticking with the communities where it all started, communities she says are in dire straits and in need of a lot of goodwill. “When I spoke to Mother Rebecca last week one of the things she asked us to do was for the adolescent and teenage girls is skills training. So since KEEP has actually launched its girls skills training here I told her we will see how we can support what they want to do here, particularly sewing . She has indicated to me that she would like to do weekly or monthly sewing classes. So we are in the process of helping them obtain the materials they will need for the skills training.
Leaving No Child Behind
Mrs. Moore says the notebooks will be donated to schools in struggling communities. “The distribution is going to continue for the entire month of February at different locations in Liberia, not just here. Fourteen thousand notebooks are a lot to give out but we hope to make sure that we do not leave any child behind. All will not be done in one county. We want to do it as far apart as possible especially in the rural areas where the children really need these kinds of educational supplies.
The Kids’ Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) provides educational support to children in various communities in Liberia.
Tools for Learning is a US-based group that raise funds and provide materials for two purposes: to facilitate children being able to read — the foundation of all learning — and to help them understand that they are blessed to be citizens of the United States of America.”