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:
- 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.
- There will not be a person-to-person relationship between the teachers and the sponsors, as it was the case with the Child Sponsorship.
- If a teacher leaves the school for any reason, it does not affect the sponsorship.
- 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.
- A sponsor is not under any obligation to write letters to a specific teacher, as was done under the Child Sponsorship.
- The sponsor does not have to think about sending gift money for a specific teacher, as was done in the Child Sponsorship. And
- 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:
- Some sponsored children leave the school because their parents have moved to a new far-away location.
- Others leave because a relative of theirs in a distant location has decided to adopt them.
- Some kids leave because they went to spend time somewhere, and they didn’t return.
- Some female students leave because they got pregnant (teen-age pregnancy).
- Others leave the school because they finished the school.
- 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.
- Some just decide to drop out of school for no apparent reason.
- 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.