HLF School Closes, Graduates 13 Students

Our school in Buchanan closed a few weeks ago, graduating 13 kindergarten students in the process.

Cross-section of the graduates

The closing of the school means that it has officially ended the 2018/2019 school year, which started in September of 2018. The closing program coincided with the graduation ceremonies of the Kindergarten Department. Thirteen students graduated in all – eight girls and five boys.

The program was attended by school administrators, teachers, parents, family members, community residents, and well-wishers.

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We are thankful to all of our friends and sponsors who helped us to have a successful school year, especially to those in Sweden and Great Britain. We also thank our parents who entrusted their children into our care.

As we plan to start a new school year next month, September, we appeal to our friends and sponsors in Sweden and Great Britain, as well as other places, to help us give education to some of the disadvantaged kids in Buchanan. We are able to do what we are doing for the kids because of your assistance.


District Education Officer Meets Parents

The Ministry of Education’s District Education Officer (DEO) assigned to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, had a special year-end meeting with the parents of our school.

Mr. Telio speaking to the parents during the meeting

Mr. Telio speaking to the parents during the meeting

During the meeting, the DEO, Mr. Amos Telio, encouraged the parents to be more involved with the running and improvement of the school, saying: “A school with a strong Parent-Teacher Association is bound to be a good school.”

The meeting was more of an interactive forum where parents were given the opportunity to ask questions, indicate problems affecting them, and suggest ways to improve the school. It was a meeting that benefited both parents and teachers.

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Telio promised that he will have another meeting with the parents in the second week of September, that is, the first month of the new school year.

We are grateful to the DEO for his time, his encouragement and advice to the attendees, as well as for his desire to see the school improve.

HLF School Promotes Students

At the end of the First Semester of the 2018/2019 school year, some students attending our school received promotion to various classes.

The kindergarten students who got promoted

The kindergarten students who got promoted

Because many of the kids in our school have already out-grown their classes, the school decided to promote kids who performed remarkably well doing the First Semester for two major reasons: to encourage them, and not to waste their time.

The graders who got promoted

The graders who got promoted

Three (3) students in the kindergarten division received promotion, while eight (8) students received promotion in the grade division. If these same students perform well in the Second Semester, they will be promoted for the second time in one year.

All the students who got promoted

All the students who got promoted

Sports Day: Staff and Students Play Soccer

The students and the staff of Help Liberia Foundation Community School had fun on the soccer field two Saturdays ago, when they challenged each other in a friendly match.

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The games were played in both football and kickball. The staff beat the students in both games, but the students complained that they were intimidated and cheated, while the staffers say they won because they were more professional.

The jerseys used by both students and staff were brought by our European guests last year, for which we remain grateful to them.


HLF School Changes Focus: From Child Sponsorship to Teacher Sponsorship

Based on experience, observation, and well-thought-of advice, Help Liberia Foundation Community School has made a strategic change in one of its long-term focal programs – the Child Sponsorship Program.

Mr. Harry posing with staffers at the end of a teachers’ workshop held last year.

At the moment, we have nine staffers, and we are paying about US$200 per month on salaries, depending on the exchange rate at the end of the month. We are paying some staffers US$20 and others US$30 per month.

For now, it is only Lena Marner and Anneli Hammarström of Sweden who are helping with the payment of teachers’ monthly salaries. If we are able to get ten (10) sponsors, each committing himself/herself to paying US$20 per month, we can raise the US$200. Still, if we can get 20 persons who can commit themselves to paying US$10 per month, we can raise the US$200.

That said, our goal for the not-too-distant future is actually to pay each teacher at least US$40 per month, which might be around US$400 per month, if the funds are available through the Teacher Sponsorship. We know this will still be low, but it will be by far better than what they are being paid for now, which will help to keep them in the school, instead of applying to a new school at the end of the year because of better salary.

Therefore, we are, through this medium, appealing to all individuals and institutions of good will to kindly think about participating in the Teacher Sponsorship Program, as it will help us to retain our teachers, pay our teachers regularly, keep running the school uninterrupted, and have more kids in the school to learn without the school thinking about charging or collecting exorbitant fees from their poor parents, or about sending kids home because they didn’t pay fees on time.

Some Advantages Associated with the Teacher Sponsorship

Generally, we have decided to focus on Teacher Sponsorship because it has more sustaining and problem-free consequences for the kids in the school and its operation. Some of the advantages associated with the Teacher Sponsorship are as follows:

  1. The Teacher Sponsorship amount paid by any sponsor will go toward general salary payment, and not for a specific teacher. In a sense, every teacher benefits.
  2. There will not be a person-to-person relationship between the teachers and the sponsors, as it was the case with the Child Sponsorship.
  3. If a teacher leaves the school for any reason, it does not affect the sponsorship.
  4. All the teachers may periodically send a signed thank-you letter to each sponsor with a photo showing the staffers, instead of each teacher writing a specific and separate letter to a sponsor.
  5. A sponsor is not under any obligation to write letters to a specific teacher, as was done under the Child Sponsorship.
  6. The sponsor does not have to think about sending gift money for a specific teacher, as was done in the Child Sponsorship. And
  7. The Teacher Sponsorship not only helps teachers to stay in the school, it also helps us to give more and more students the opportunity to get and stay in school because if there is money to pay the staffers every month, no child will be charged exorbitant fees or sent home all because they didn’t pay the required fee on time.

In view of the foregoing, the school has, with immediate effect, cancelled the Child Sponsorship Program and replaced it with the Teacher Sponsorship Program. This new policy does not automatically cancel the status of the few children currently under sponsorship; it will remain in force until it naturally fades out.

Why the Change?

The change from Child Sponsorship to Teacher Sponsorship came about as a result of numerous problems experienced under the Child Sponsorship. For example, the following problems, among other things, were experienced under the program:

  1. Some sponsored children leave the school because their parents have moved to a new far-away location.
  2. Others leave because a relative of theirs in a distant location has decided to adopt them.
  3. Some kids leave because they went to spend time somewhere, and they didn’t return.
  4. Some female students leave because they got pregnant (teen-age pregnancy).
  5. Others leave the school because they finished the school.
  6. Some drop from school because they realize that they have out-grown the classes they are in and are ashamed of being in those classes with kids by far younger than they were.
  7. Some just decide to drop out of school for no apparent reason.
  8. Sometimes, some sponsors stop the sponsorship for many different reasons, putting the sponsored child and their parents in an awkward position.

When a child abruptly leaves the school as a result of one of the first six (6) reasons given above, especially where a sponsor has already started a relationship with the child, it creates serious problems. And writing a sponsor that their sponsored child is no longer in the school creates serious embarrassment and puts the school in an awkward position. At times, we write the sponsor to inform them that the child has left the school, while at the same time recommending a new child, only to find out in two or three months that the newly named child has also left the school. This sometimes creates doubts and affects the credibility of the school and those in charge. The Teacher Sponsorship will end these problems.

Of course, in conclusion, we wish to thank all of you who have sponsored needy Liberian children over the years, because your sponsorship helped a lot of kids to get their basic education. The focus is now teacher sponsorship.