My experience during the 14 years of the Liberian civil war left me with many memories, not all favorable and one thing I said to myself was that I would be a part of the development of the country in whatever little way I could be. The idea of KEEP came about few years ago and I have always wanted to do something that supports the development of Liberian children, especially around education. The opportunity arose to do something in 2014 and this occurred during the height of the Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia.
The Government of Liberia closed all schools in the country as an effort to help curb the spread of the Ebola virus disease. So, I started homeschooling my two young children. I would print out free worksheets from online that matched our Liberian national curriculum and we would do daily exercises. However, going to work daily, I saw other kids in my community idle and decided to also reach out to them.
Along with my husband and kids, we prepared 150 educative packets that contained math and English worksheets, coloring pages, included learning supplies like crayons, pencils, sharpeners, erasers, etc. and each week, would take a new set of lessons to the children in my immediate community. If the families worked with the children and they completed the lessons, we would give a new set. All free of charge. Many of my friends thought it was a good idea and joined the weekly outreach activities and we grew to about 25 volunteers. The volunteers were all from diverse backgrounds. Ultimately, the initiative reached over 7000 children in 7 months in more than 70 communities in Liberia.
This grassroots interactive experience made me realize many things.one of which is that we all have to get involved if we wanted lift Liberia from its current state. I also realized that we still a long way to go in developing our country and that the education system left a lot to be desired with many of the teachers we interacted with themselves direly in need of additional training. I visited over 30 communities in rural Liberia and came face to face with poverty and it broke my heart. It has motivated me to do more.
We have since transitioned into a more structured organization that now works in several counties in Liberia providing various support in the education sector, particularly at the primary school level. We also engage in women & girls empowerment, economic livelihood, access to justice, promotion of rights in schools, strengthening youth education through computer and reading literacy programs, child sponsorship and advocacy. It is our conviction at KEEP that the bedrock of development for Liberia starts with the education of the child, particularly at the primary level and we remain committed to giving back and being a part of the development and up-liftment from poverty through education.