|THE CENTER FOR YOUTH EMPOWERMENT|
An Overview of Current Activities In Liberia
We would like to give you an overview about our current programs and activities and the development of the Center for Youth Empowerment in the Gardnersville Community, suburbs of Monrovia.
We are really happy to inform you that we were able to reactivate most of the activities that we were running in the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana.
Besides the CYE elementary School which was the main functional activity since our arrival in Liberia, we have set to motion the following programs
Under the Umbrella of the Peace Department:
- Peace Education in three different schools
- Peace and reconciliation workshops
- Community Peace Forums
- Junior Peace Club (Age 10-14)
- Peace Drama Club, working with the method of the Theater of the Oppressed by the Brazilian Augusto Boal
This is a 100% Charity. ALL funds go directly to the school to be spent on an audited spend plan that directly contributes to the welfare and education of the children!
Presently Peace Education is taught in three schools including the CYE Elementary School with one High School and other Elementary School all located in the area of Gardnersville. There are many requests from different schools for the peace education program but the lack of sufficient man-power allows us not to go any further.
Peace and reconciliation workshops are still intermittent due to the lack of substantial funding.
Under the Umbrella of the Women Empowerment Department:
Adult literacy program especially for the older women
The Adult Literacy Program
The Adult Literacy Program is established for interested women of the community, from Monday to Friday in the afternoon on the CYE School Campus.
According to the needs of these women we are planning to give them a small introduction to ABC and numbers so as to be able to do measurement for their client after their completion of the sewing school.
The CYE Sewing Club
For another development, we have established CYE Sewing Club on the campus of the CYE elementary school. The CYE Sewing club is an organized group especially women of not less than five and not more than seven persons to be in one sewing club. Depending on our own capacity with regard to support and availability of funds we can organize as many sewing clubs as possible. The aims and objectives of the CYE sewing club are:
- To empower those, especially women, who have skills of tailoring but with no means of acquiring machines and venue.
- To retain and sharpen the skills of vocational Sewing graduates with no means of acquiring sewing equipment and/or venue
- To serve as a means of internship of prospective graduates of vocational sewing, in the community of Gardnersville and its environs, especially those of the CYE Sewing School.
The CYE Sewing School
Currently the sewing school has one teacher with 10 students undergoing a three months theoretical training to be followed by three months practical training and additional three months advance courses. This makes the total of 9 months duration for one training cycle of the sewing school. Of course this depends on the availability of funding to pay teachers and purchase materials.
The Center has 18 manual or hands machines and 4 embroidery machines brought from Ghana.
After the vocational training they will be in the position to work for the sustenance of their families. We will provide them opportunity to join the Sewing Club and start working as professional tailors.
From our observation and experience some of these women are illiterate. For them we will provide ABC trainings to learn the basics in spelling, writing and reading. At least we are going to make sure that they have all the necessary skills to work as professional tailors.
For these women it will be a unique possibility to experience to learn in a dignified surrounding and atmosphere not just for becoming professional tailors, but also for their personal growth and benefit and for learning other useful life skills.
We are encouraging them to take part in our Peace Activities and as mentioned before, in our Sewing Club for internship during their training and after graduation as professional working member. Thanks to Linda Ebers, an international volunteer from Germany who pledged three months salary payment for the sewing teacher so as to successfully complete the beginner section.
The CYE Elementary School
In accordance with the calendar of the Liberian school year, the CYE elementary school is to be closed not later than 30th, June, 2011 for a normal vacation of two months. Currently the school has an enrollment of 205 students after a total drop of 50 students.
This is due to numerous factors, ranging from “change of communities”, to “inability to attempt payment of the little fee charged”.
With a total staff of twelve – ten teachers, one janitor and one security, the institution is strangulated with arears of monthly stipend for school staff. Except for the regular scholarship fees payment of an Australian Humanitarian, Dick Clifford for 22 kids and 25 kids by a German Humanitarian Ingrid Shittich, we certainly got no means of paying the school staff the already little stipend or attracting more qualified teachers.
Current Categories of students of the CYE Elementary school are as followed:
Scholarship Students (Most vulnerable kids)47
Students that paid full arears 17
Student that paid some arrears 53
Vulnerable kids (unable to pay) 88
We also acknowledged with appreciation to Ghana Wisdom Foundation for their donation in early 2009 towards the construction of 70 arm chairs for the CYE elementary School.
The CYE International Volunteer Service
We have also re-opened our international volunteer program. In April last year we had one international volunteer from Germany. She is stayed for hundred days and was actively involved with all of our activities. We welcome anyone with similar intention either for research purpose, internship or just service to humaity.
C O N S T R A I N T S
The sewing school.
The Sewing School comprises of women with difficult or vulnerable social backgrounds. We held meetings with them as to know their needs and their interest. In a democratic and honest discussion we tried to find out their possible contribution to a Sewing School. In this process we found out that their contribution per month will not be enough to buy the materials and to pay the teachers. Currently we have not been able to meet up with our commitment to paying the teacher $US50/month. This has unfortunately caused irregular attendance by teacher and so threatening the continuation of the program.
We are also faced with the issue of purchasing stands for the hand machines. The hand machines are outdated and we must attach the foot stand to them to meet our students’demand.
The sewing club
Regular customers being the only means of sustenance for the CYE Sewing Club, the CYE school campus is not ideal for this program. The school campus where they are currently operating is situated in a poor community which is not ideal for such activities; therefore making it difficult to attract customers to generate income for sustenance.
These women are willing to work in a team and are enthusiastic about this, in fact this is their own project, but a venue in a more populated area is highly recommended.
We believe that the Club will be benefited by being settled in another area.
We hope that we can realize the relocation of the Sewing Club to another place as soon as fundings are possible.
Peace and Reconciliation Department
The Peace and Reconciliation Department being the bed-rock of the Center for Youth Empowerment will hardly deliver to the expectation of the people with just two volunteers. Most of the trained peace workers of CYE from Ghana are still on the stand-by waiting for sufficient funding for this program. In fact many requests for peace education from various schools can not be answered now because of this problem.
The CYE Elementary School
The issue of the vulnerable kids makes it very difficult for CYE to realize her total local revenue from the operation of the school thereby making it automatically tedious for the payment of teachers, purchase of school materials and other operational cost.
The major greatest threat is the approaching expiration of the three years lease payment on the CYE school building that contains all of the CYE activities. The time of expiration is early September, 2011. The issue of vulnerable kids and the low fees charged makes it quite impossible for CYE to generate sufficient fund from the income of the school to update payment. In fact the yearly revenue of the school is not even sufficient for the payment of teachers, not to mention lease update.
R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S
We are very pleased to appeal through you to any charitable organization, philanthropist and some individuals of good will to come to our aid in the realization of the below listed in the cause to serve humanity
- Increase in the number of scholarship students so as to reduce the number of tuition delinquent students and enable us to attract good teachers with regular pay
- Means of funding for rental of an ideal venue for the sewing club
- Means of funding for 9 months salary payment for the sewing teacher
- Means of funding for the peace and reconciliation department
- Means of funding for the update of the lease payment or the construction of a new school building preferably owned by CYE.
- Means of funding for the purchase of machine stands or the purchase of some modern machines with ready- made stands.
- Means of funding to construct desks and chairs for students since many now sit on floors
Once again, thanks for your interest, your support and your Steady commitment to serving and supporting humanity’s least priviliged.
The CYE Team sends you warmest regards and wishes you great health.
Note: For technical reasons photos have been ommited from this report. We hope this will be rectified soon.