If things were normal, I would have been in Liberia at this time. However, as the situation rapidly changed around the world, the Liberian Business Association (LIBA) decided on March 12 to postpone the trip indefinitely.
This was going to be an exciting trip. Our students were preparing for my arrival. Both the primary and vocational training students were planning their separate programs on my behalf. Also, the staff wanted me to wear this shirt when I arrived at the airport because they would be wearing something with the same fabric. They wanted us to be uninformed.
Additionally, Kelvin Fomba, UDS Co-Founder and Country Director worked on refreshing the center. For instance, he hand-drew some new images on the exterior walls. As shown below, he drew a treadle sewing machine, someone working on a computer, and an electrician ready for work.
Speaking of electricians, our students installed new exterior lights to brighten the entrance area. These particular light bulbs take less wattage to run, thus exacting less drain on our solar power. Again, we want Thank all of you that helped us install solar. Since January 2019, we have not gone one day without lights.
The U.S. Co-Founder & Executive Director, Heather Cannon, joins the Liberian Business Association of Minnesota Delegation to Liberia in March. Heather’s last visit to Liberia was September 2013 to launch UDS. Now over six years later, she is excited to see how UDS transformed from an idea into a thriving educational and vocational training program.
Additionally, she will experience your students’ abilities as their customer in the following trades:
Hotel management students will take care of her room while I stay at the York Plaza Hotel.
Catering students will provide her meals each day.
Cosmetology students will give her pedicures both weeks of her visit.
Tailoring students will make her an outfit or two.
Furthermore, she will to work with our computer students and learn from your auto mechanic, electrician, and plumbing students. So, please stay tuned as she gives a personal account of how your students performed with me being a customer.
Thank you for all your support and including UDS in your charitable giving!
One of our strategic goals is building partnerships with organizations in supporting Liberian Youth. This year we became a member of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA) to network and bring more awareness of our work. LIBA’s Executive Director & Consul General of Minnesota’s Liberian Consulate, Jackson George (in photo), visited our center in July 2018. He saw how hungry the students were towards learning a trade. However, he also noticed that some of them struggled with paying their tuition even after our discount.
Last year, he requested that we submit a proposal for a scholarship fund to help enrolled students struggling with their payments. So, we laid out the criteria on who will be eligible and submitted this request in January. The LIBA board approved the request in July.
This year, they placed a jar within their office and started collecting funds. We received the first donation on November 14 of $119. In the next week or two, Kelvin Fomba (UDS Co-Founder & Director) and his staff will review eligible students to determine who will receive these funds.
Thank you so much for LIBA Members and Office Visitors for contributing to this important scholarship drive!