UDS Vocational Students Share With Each Other

UDS Vocational Students Share With Each Other

On Saturday, May 23, 2020, about 60 Vocational Training Students came to the center to receive their handwashing packages, because they were unable to come the week before. Kelvin Fomba, UDS Co-Founder & Director in Liberia held a meeting with the students. They all wore masks and observed social distancing. 

Your vocational training students one left and right, and Kelvin in the middle.

The students started sharing their concerns and thoughts with one another about the COVID-19, the reopening of schools, etc. Some students shared how times were hard and the struggles they are facing. Two students got up and shared their testimonials.

Linda Foeday, Cosmetology

The first one was Linda Foeday, a 2019 Hotel Management Graduate and soon-to-be Cosmetology graduate. She shared how fortunate she was to demonstrate her hotel management skills during the permaculture training in January 2019. Linda served the trainers from Sierra Leone Foundation for New Democracy during their nine-day stay. From this experience, she wanted to come back and learn more, and be part of the UDS Team. Based on her dedication, hard work, and leadership, she was appointed to run the Hair Salon that we acquired and opened last fall. 

Left to right: Linda receiving her Hotel Management Diploma in April 2019, at the salon in December 2019, and giving her testimony on May 23, 2019. 

Grace Gweh, Computers/Cosmetology/Hotel Management

Next up was Grace Gweh, a three-course soon-to-be graduate in computers, cosmetology, and hotel management. She did all of this while working as a primary school teacher. As she stood at the podium, Grace shared how she created the grade sheets for the students at her school. She then explained how she earned money from designing flyers or other materials for people requesting her service. Grace, a self-motivated person, wants to learn as much as she can. She definitely inspires others through her own example.

Left to right: Grace at the computer in our lab in June 2019, wearing her Hotel Management uniform made by our tailoring students in November 2019 and giving her testimonial on May 23, 2020.

As you see, your investment in students like Linda and Grace pays off. They could not have gotten this far without your generous help!

A Gather of the Stars – Be Inspired

Thank you for attending our first house party “A Gathering of the Stars” on September 18th, 2017! You raised $475 for our Become a Classroom Hero campaign from this stellar event, which featured delicious food, great networking, and being inspired to support Liberian youth. We all appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedules to meet our fabulous board and to learn more about our work in Liberia!

It is important to give special recognition to our hosts, John & Maureen Trepp, who opened their home for this gathering of supporters, old and new. We also want to recognize our guest speaker, Branko Tambah, who shared an inspiring message about vocational training, and the blessings of opportunity that come with it. Finally, we give our gratitude to African Foods & Gifts, for making the delicious appetizers for this event!

For those who missed this event, we recorded Branko’s talk, “The Importance of Vocational Training.” He shares his personal story of growing up in poverty and facing the challenges of war in his home country of Liberia. Both he and his Dad benefited from vocational training on Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Kakata, Liberia. Branko expressed how vocational training is the path to personal sustainability, and he encouraged everyone to support our students attending UDS courses. Please enjoy his talk, and be inspired to help young Liberians achieve their star potential!


Peace on Earth, Good Will to Everyone, and Thank You

It is said that we are each born to this earth with a purpose to do something that will contribute to the betterment of all living things. Our destiny is usually greater than our sense of self, if we are open to the sights and sounds that lead us on this inspirational journey. As we move out into this world, we will unite with others who share the same passion and work together to build community, harmony and peace.

February 2014 Student Celebration at Russ Wood School.

Uniting Distant Stars exemplifies this calling. It started with two people–one U.S. citizen and one Liberian–who combined their shared passion to encourage young people to reach for the Stars. Soon others joined from Minnesota, Oklahoma, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Liberia, Cameron, Ghana, Eritrea, and Denmark to support Liberia’s youth to reach their potential with educational scholarships, rejoicing their achievements at the Annual Student Celebration and School Gala, innovative training program such as the Backpacks for Peace, opportunities to connect with their peers in Minnesota via Google Hangout at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum Youth Festival, and much more.

March 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Forum Youth Festival via Google Hangout.

The children and young adults that we have partnered with in Liberia have been very grateful for the community of support that has been developed through Uniting Distant Stars. In the later half of 2014, their lives were abruptly interrupted by Ebola with schools being closed and having their families livelihoods restricted or devastated. However, this crisis did not destroy the dreams and hopes of Liberia’s precious young souls. They have shown their desire to be learning and doing something that allows them to be self-reliant. We are grateful that we can give our young men and women this opportunity with our backpack project.

Completion of the Phase 1 of the backpack project in December 2014. Our team on right made 250 backpacks for our students at Russ Wood Christian Academy. These will be filled with the supplies were shipped Trans-Atlantic in November and given at the 3rd annual Student Celebration sometime in 2015.

What we have accomplished in the last few years would not have been possible without the most generous support of our dedicated donors, board members, volunteers and followers who help share our story. Each and everyone of you is a Shining Star that has brightened the lives of our young people we serve in Liberia. Your kindness and encouragement has filled their hearts with joy and the knowledge that you are with them on this journey. It is so hard to find the right words to express what you have done to make a difference for the our young Star, except to say we are humbly and extremely GRATEFUL and THANKFUL for all of you in making 2014 a successful year!

We wish all of you and your families Peace on Earth, Good Will, and the Happiest and Blessed 2015!