first month of the Backpacks for Peace Service Learning Project on March 20, 2015. This blog post shares the
project report from Kelvin Fomba, UDS Co-Founder and Country Director in Liberia.
|Kelvin Fomba (brown shirt) interacting with our students’ while they wash the plastic squares.|
thank God plenty for saving our lives during the EBOLA crisis. We ask
God to forgive and bless the souls of all those that died from it, and
may they rest in perfect peace. Although we have not been
declared Ebola FREE yet, we pray that this will happen soon. Secondly,
we also want to give our THANKS and APPRECIATION to all those who
made this project possible!
|Our instructor, Charles Mamba, (standing in the middle) supervising the students while they wash the plastic that has been supplied by African Dream Academy.|
the Liberian youth possess the eagerness to learn. They focus on their
lessons, show up regularly for class, and cooperate with their trainers
and fellow students. Additionally, the two instructors and the two
assistant trainers clearly demonstrate their dedication to our training program. They enjoy
interacting with our students and guiding them in achieving the training objectives.
They easily handle the obstacles that may arise with not having an ideal training space. They
are comfortable with teaching both the practical and theoretical concepts
of sewing and using non-traditional “fabrics” to make these backpacks that will
benefit our young people.
|The students taking notes during the classroom sessions.|
|Our other instructor, Mohammed Sesay (black shirt) is inspecting the strips of plastic.|
From this experience, our young trainees quickly realized that learning is the key to success. This is evident when a student brings their school uniform for repairs and they can fix it themselves on the sewing machine. This added benefit of repairing their own clothes enforces the importance of how continued practice leads to a developed skill. They also appreciate how UDS goes beyond this basic training initiative by impacting them with valuable knowledge through
expanding their world view, like connecting them with other youth in the
U.S. with Google Hangout.
|Our students sewing the individual plastic squares into strips.|
|Another view of the students at work.|
programming. They are pleased with how we are teaching their
children to think-outside-of-the-box in regards to making a useful product with limited resources. Furthermore, these parents and guardians give their thanks and prayers for our supporters to prosper and that God will provide everyone
strength to continue helping the youth of Liberia. They expressed their gratitude for UDS providing a light lunch with this
training. Though our efforts may seem insignificant to some, for these families
it means a “million” to them.
|Our students busy with sewing the long strips together.|
challenges that required adjustments to
our programming. Here are two examples:
- Holidays: During the first four weeks, Liberia has had at
least three holidays where no training was in session.
- School schedules: All schools are now open. However, some
of the teachers release the students late and a few
youth are required to attend a study class after school. Therefore, the scheduling process has
become a crazy endeavor.
though we had less training days, our young trainees have kept up with
their lessons and demonstrated their ability to meet or exceed the
expectations. We adjusted our times to meet our students’ schedules to ensure they benefit from both their academic
studies and vocational training. Their learning and development is our major concern and responsibility.
|Kelvin (orange shirt) checks in with the backpack students while conducting mechanical training in the carport.|
project. We have observed their confidence increase as they move forward with each step of the training. We have welcomed their ideas and suggestions on how we can improve and expand this program to train additional youth in the future. We are pleased with the results and look forward to advancing their progress in the coming month.