Your Students Enthusiastically Learn Skills

Your Students Enthusiastically Learn Skills

The current student body of the UDS Vocational Training Center (UDSVTC) completed their third month in July. Their enthusiasm to learn makes you smile. Furthermore, their ability to encourage their fellow students when they are feeling frustrated touches your heart. In fact, this group of students is unique compared to the previous two cohorts. They created a chat room on Messenger to promote unity and share ideas out of the classroom. Your students’ hunger for learning is 24/7.

Your catering students made delicious pancakes topped with natural honey. Frank Tugbeh, UDS Catering Instructor posted these photos in our Facebook group and instantly your tastebuds start watering. What makes these pancakes even sweeter? The joy of success expressed in the beautiful smiles of our students. 

Your students proudly displaying their pancakes topped with natural honey.

Your electrician students cannot get enough practical training because they are asking for more. In addition to their eagerness, this class has grown to over 20 students. Their instructor, Boakai Dillion shared these photos on his Facebook page as they continue to learn how to work with electricity. As you can see, these dedicated and focused students practice their skills. 

Your electrician students are dedicated to learning this important trade that lights the world.

As we close this post, we hope more of our instructors and students continue to share photos and stories from their experiences at UDSVTC, so we can pass on to you. 

New Electrician Students Install Solar Power

New Electrician Students Install Solar Power

Reliable and uninterrupted electricity improves the quality of education for students at our training center. On June 12, Taleance T Tokpah (the owner of T & T Solar Tech) spent the day teaching 18 electrician students about solar power and giving them real experience with installing it. Please read the caption of each photo to know what they experienced and gained from this opportunity. 

Your Electrician Students arrive at the center to learn about solar power.
Your electrician students beaming with excitement on learning about solar power from Taleance T Tokpah (lower right).
Your students working together to put up the ladders for the solar panel installation.
Your student moves up the ladder as he carries the solar panel. The ladder protects the zinc roof. 
Your students and Mr. Tokpah (Tech) working together to secure the solar panels. 
Your students demonstrate their willingness to dive in with learning this valuable trade.
Your students, under Mr. Tokpah’s (Tech) supervision, wire the computer lab to connect with solar power. 
Your students threading the wire through the pipe that will be part of the control area of the computer lab.
Mr. Tokpah (Tech) explaining on the controller works in supplying solar energy to the room.
Mr. Tokpah (Tech) explaining to our students how solar will power the computers in our lab. 
Your student testing a computer that is now powered by solar!

As you can see, solar also powers our students in learning renewable energy with this practical experience with Taleance T Tokpah (the owner of T & T Solar Tech). Your generous support made this learning opportunity possible for your electrician students. Although the current economic situation caused us to miss our mark in achieving 100% renewable energy, we did connect half our computer lab. Thank you for being a Classroom Hero for Liberian Youth! 

New Term, New Students

New Term, New Students

One of the best things about a new school year is connecting with new students. One of those new students, J Taryoungson Brandy, posted about his computer class on Facebook and talked about learning how to set up a desktop. Through a Messenger discussion, he shared that he is both a computer and hotel management student. He enrolled in our computer course because we offer the entire Microsoft Suite. He further explained that he attended another school and received a certificate in Microsoft Word, but they charged by the application and he could not afford to continue. 

J Taryoungson Brandy (maroon shirt) setting up a desktop computer; another classmate taking a selfie with his classmates behind him. 

He also appreciates the quality of teaching from our instructors. He ended our conversation by saying, “I will also be in the forefront to spread the good news and opportunities that you people are rendering to the Liberian people.” Your generous support makes it possible for Mr. Brandy to gain valuable marketable skills in two trades during the next year!

Let There Be Light!

Let There Be Light!

By Adam Pederson, UDS Board Secretary

This past January, the students enrolled in Uniting Distant Stars electrician program assisted in installing the first stage of the long-awaited solar panels of the learning center in Monrovia. With the assistance of Taleance T Tokpah (who was the vendor from T & T Solar Tech and a technician himself) guiding them along the way, our students were able to bring the learning center to a new level of independence where it will not rely as heavily on the city’s unreliable grid nor a diesel generator.

Your students working with Mr. Tokaph installing solar panels on our center’s roof
Generator

The number of times after hours, work was done in the dark became numerous due to power outages. The cost of diesel also meant the generator was left for class hours and emergency use. Having a kitchen, coursework in electrical work and a newly updated computer lab are nothing without the power to make them run. But now they have that power.

Future students will not only be able to easily learn how solar panels work but also how to install and maintain them. Besides the usual skills that have been taught in our electrician course, the hands-on solar panel experience will give our students an additional skill that will set them apart when they are seeking full-time employment upon graduation in a field that currently does not have as many people with expertise in the growing field of renewable energy.

The solar panels also now show how easy it is to provide clean, environmentally-friendly power that lights up and powers many of the essentials needed to run a place of learning that provides for over 150 students and staff. It does not cover all of our energy needs but is a perfect example of what can be done on a modest budget to help the environment in the long run if done on a larger scale.

Our computer lab’s lights are powered by solar.

As discussed previously, these solar panels were mostly the result of generous donors who attended the Shine a Light on Education fundraiser in Manhattan last October. Uniting Distant Stars was able to surpass the initial goal of $5,000 and unite more “Stars” in showing the importance of supporting trade skills to improve local communities on the other side of the world. Without them, and supporters like you, our many students, their families, and the communities they live in would not be able to shine to their brightest abilities.

With the beginning of this new year, Uniting Distant Stars is counting its blessings and does not plan to slow down on its progress of expanding programs and opportunities for students in Liberia. With your help, we can continue to expand the number of solar panels at the learning center and become 100% renewable and self-reliant. 

You can help us reach our Phase 2 goal of $3,040 by joining two supporters who have already donated $1,025! Please donate today to complete our solar project. Thank you for Lighting Up the lives of Liberian Youth!

UDS Training Center Powered By Solar

UDS Training Center Powered By Solar

As a small and humble organization, our gratitude reaches beyond the stars everytime you make a dream come true. Our quest for solar started a year ago when our small group visited a farm in Carver, Minnesota that was fully operated by this renewable energy. This experience gave us the hope and inspiration to make this possible. In June, we discussed this opportunity at our strategic plan meeting to determine the feasibility. After agreeing to move forward with this project, the fundraising plans began. In October, a fundraiser in New York City raised over $5,200 for this initiative. And as of January 26, 2019, solar power electrifies our center.

The first phase of our solar initiative provides 24/7 lights, runs ceiling fans for cooling in our classrooms, and supports our business office during the day. A total cost of $6,000 (includes general funds) purchased all the materials for phase 1. As a learning opportunity, the vendor Taleance T Tokpah (the owner of T & T Solar Tech) worked with our electrician students to install the solar.

Taleance T Tokpah standing in the center by the table instructs our students on how to test the panels.

Before we can implement phase 2, our diesel generator will be used for our computer training course three times a week. In the near future, we will discuss the next steps to cover all our center’s power needs on solar. In the meantime, please enjoy the photos of our students learning something new.

Panel Installation

You empowered our electrician students (blue and red shirts) to help install our solar panels with our vendor and technician, Taleance T Tokpah.

Your electrician students working together to install solar panels under the guidance of Taleance T Tokpah.

Wire Connection

Your students and Kelvin Fomba (UDS Co-Founder & Director) testing the connections between the roof and ceiling.

Your student preparing the wire to connect the panels to the control box.

UDS Lights Powered By Solar

UDS Training Center now powered by solar.

Thank you so much to our generous supporters in New York City! You gave our students reliable and stable electricity at our center. What remarkable gift! Also, our sincere thanks to Taleance T Tokpah for sharing his knowledge and expertise with our students!

Thank You For Extraordinary 2018!!!

Thank You For Extraordinary 2018!!!

Your continued generous support gave Uniting Distant Stars their best year ever! As a result of your efforts, you accomplished the following:

  1. Raised $25,426! This is a record for our small organization. Compared to last year, you raised 28% more.
  2. Increased our Monthly Donors from three to seven. Also, please consider our Star Champion Monthly Donor Program,
  3. Graduated 75 vocational training students on March 24, 2018.
  4. Supported 150 vocational training students enrolled in one of eight one-year courses.
  5. Sponsored 17 academic scholarship students attending primary and secondary schools.
  6. Sponsored 5 vocational training students enrolled in our program.
  7. Supported 35 youth to attend the 2019 Permaculture Design Certification Training.

Furthermore, your passionate commitment to giving Liberian Youth knowledge and skills is a worthwhile investment. Here is a video showing your tremendous accomplishments in 2018.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfTgpKuam6c[/embedyt]

By the way, this video features the music “Education is Better than Silver & Gold” written and sung by one of our former computer students, Enoch Daniel Tarr. Additionally, Ernest Norris Jr. created and published the video. Thank you to these aspiring young Liberian Artists!

To conclude this extraordinary year, Liberian Youth give you their heartfelt thanks!