For many students across the world, having a library or reading room where they can access books to read either for study or pleasure is the norm; something many take for granted.
This is not the case in Liberia, a country whose education system, the President labeled "a mess." Many schools, both public and private, do not have a library or reading room.
For many students, it is a dream for their schools to have a library.
One local organization is making it a mission to provide safe, conducive reading rooms to children across the country.
The Kids' Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) last Sunday dedicated its third Reading Room at the Gboloken Public School in the Cavalla District, Grand Gedeh County.
Located close to a 10-hour ride from Monrovia, the school recently dedicated the newly constructed junior high school annex, and its students were excited at the dedication of the room.
The Reading Room is now the second of such facilities in the county, which provides students access to hundreds of school books, with the first being the US Embassy American Corner Library in Zwedru City.
The County Education Officer, Harrision Darwolo, in remarks at the ceremony thanked KEEP and its team for the project. He said that education is the backbone to any developing nation and commended the executive director of KEEP for her efforts.
It takes someone with a
special heart to do what she does and has done for the community and the public school, said Mr. Darwolo. The whole frame of education is about reading and comprehension, he added. "If you can read and understand what you have learned, you can apply that to your studies and your life."
He commended the organization for supporting the Ministry of Education's effort to improve the quality of education fo
r children. He said the Reading Room may not be a huge facility, but it has a great value; with the objective that at the end of the day, the students of Gboloken School will be better readers and excel in their studies.
The District Commissioner, Alfred Dorue, who represented the Superintendent of the County, Peter Solo, applauded the organization for the effort, saying the facility is one that is much needed in the county.
He admonished the students to
make the best use of the facility. He used the opportunity to ask the Ministry of Education through the CEO to assign qualified and honest teachers who will be committed to providing sound education to the stud
ents, and not ones who will promote or perpetuate a culture of bribery in the school system.
He commended the principal and the women of the town, who are committed to seeing the project successful by working for many hours hauling sand and crushed rocks for the construction team.
Mrs. Brenda Brewer Moore, KEEP's founder and executive director, explained how her organization was established, how it worked during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and what it continues to do.
Mrs. Moore said reading is something she enjoyed doing as a child, which helped her immensely during the civil war. She noted that she has observed over the years how many of the students struggle to read, "Because they do not have access to books or a space to read, but rather do homework and provide domestic services."
She said her organization is committed to support government and other development partners as well keeping focus to do more.
The Reading Room becomes the third the organization has established in Liberia, with the other two currently in Montserrado County.
Mrs. Moore thanked companies that helped make the project possible. Companies mentioned were Royal Grand Hotel, Palm Springs Hotel, Cellcom Communications, Total Liberia, International Law Group, Jetty Trading, LISCR and the United Commodity Inc. (UCI).
KEEP is a local non-profit organization that supports educational activities in Liberia. You can read more about their work on www.keepliberia.com, reach them on [email protected]