School for Vulnerable Children in Clay Ashlan
Through the construction of a school in the Liberian township of Clay-Ashland, we will be providing children from poor, rural and disadvantaged communities with access to a high-quality, affordable education. Our educational facility will provide low-cost primary education focusing on children aged 5 to 14 years old (kindergarten to grade 8). This will be a holistic facility that will also include a cafeteria, providing nutritious food to children, and a library that gives children access to a variety of books to promote a reading culture and thus further improve literacy.
This will be the first school in Clay-Ashland and will, therefore, enable local children to have easy access to education.
Liberia has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world and is ranked 182 out of 197 countries. In 2015, the youth literacy rate in Liberia was 54.5%, adult literacy was 47.6%. This is significantly lower than rates in the United States where adult literacy in 2014 was 99%.
In Liberia, adults have an average of 2.5 years of education and currently more than half of primary-school-aged children are not in school. Illiteracy has a significant impact on individuals in Liberia creating a poverty trap. This is because most of the population is born into poverty. Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world. An estimated 54% of the population were living in poverty in 2014 (i.e. on less than $1.90 per day).
The high levels of illiteracy make it challenging for Liberians to elevate themselves and their families out of poverty because it limits the opportunities available to them. Illiteracy has also affected society as a whole and has hindered development leading to Liberia being ranked 181 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index Ranking.
To improve literacy levels, the Ri’ayah Foundation will provide children with the knowledge, tools and opportunity to rise out of poverty and significantly improve the quality of their lives. We will achieve this by building a primary school in Clay- Ashland. We have already purchased the land and are preparing for the next phase of this project. Clay-Ashland is just 10 miles from Monrovia and our project can therefore also serve families in the city of Monrovia.
Our school will become a center of excellence providing a high standard of education to vulnerable communities. We believe education is a great equalizer, opening doors and providing vast opportunities.
The funding will be used to build the facility, recruit and train teachers and teacher’s assistants, recruit staff including a highly-qualified principal and vice-principal and to purchase the furniture, teaching materials and resources to create an inspiring learning environment.
We’ll also use the funding to build a library on-site that will be a hub of learning for children through the availability of a diversity of books and the implementation of reading, writing and math programs. These programs will focus on students who require more support but also members of the community who need to improve their literacy. The local community will thus have access to the library and be able to use it for their personal development.
Finally, the health and wellbeing of our students will be of the utmost importance and recognizing the importance of good nutrition for learning and memory, we will include an on-site cafeteria that will serve healthy meals to children. We will ensure that each child has a good start to the day with a nutritious breakfast carefully prepared to improve their cognition, concentration and energy levels.
The success of our project will mean poor, underserved, vulnerable families will have easy and affordable access to education. This will make a significant contribution to improving literacy levels and empower children with the skills to realize their true potential, go on to access higher education and careers that will alleviate poverty so that communities in and around Clay-Ashland can thrive and flourish.