Christmas came early for the children of Obaa's Girls Educational Outreach, a non-governmental organization that advocates on behalf of underprivileged children, when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf surprised its Executive Director, Miatta Fahnbulleh, with an 18-seater minibus to transport the school's children.
Madam Fahnbulleh, known familiarly as "Aunty Miatta," is also the newly appointed Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal and Newborn Health.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the presentation was made on Monday, December 17, following a program at the Monrovia City Hall, where President Sirleaf launched two World Health Organization (WHO) Reports – the Women's Health Commission Report on Addressing the Challenges of Women's Health in Africa and the World Malaria Report 2012.
Following the launch, President Sirleaf requested Ambassador Fahnbulleh, who had participated in the program, to walk with her to her car. There, parked outside, was the brand new minibus inscribed with the words "Donated by: The President of the Republic of Liberia to Obaa Girls School System."
At a loss for words and with tears of joy, Ambassador Fahnbulleh could only embrace the President in appreciation for this kind gesture.
Back at Obaa's Girls, the children were seen singing, dancing and thanking their Grandma Ellen and also shouting "Obaa Da Woman!"
Commenting subsequently on what having their own transportation will mean for her school and its children, Ambassador Fahnbulleh said, "This is going to give these children, for the first time, an opportunity to leave their community when we take them out on outings and excursions. Also now, we will have a means of transporting our children who are often involved with programs."
Asked about her generous gift, President Sirleaf said she wanted to give the bus to an organization that really needed it and would take care of it. The minibus had been a birthday gift to the President from the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Liberia, His Excellency Zhao Jianhua.
President Sirleaf is Honorary President of the Commission on Women's Health and Chair of the African Leaders' Malaria Alliance (ALMA). The Women's Health Commission serves as a forum to re-energize efforts and commitment, in partnership with multilateral and bilateral institutions, to address the problem of women's health, gender and human rights in order to achieve rapid and tangible impact in the African region. Similarly, ALMA is an alliance of African Heads of State and Government which serves as a critical forum and mechanism for advocacy, action and follow-up in implementing malaria-related objectives.