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!

UDS Catering Students Make a Tasty Pizza

UDS Catering Students Make a Tasty Pizza

Our catering students are baking and cooking so many appetizing and mouthwatering desserts and main courses during each class period. Their instructor gives them different recipes to try including many Liberian favorites (such as Jollof Rice) while also giving them well-known comfort food recipes (such as pizza). 

They recently made their first pizza from scratch by mixing the ingredients for the dough and rolling out the crust into a circle. Then they topped the crust with pizza sauce, meat, and cheese before it was placed in the oven. As it baked in the oven, the center filled with a pleasing aroma. Our catering students served their pizza to Kelvin Fomba (Co-Founder & Director) and Godfrey Solomon (Registrar & Artist) to do the taste test. Kelvin and Godfrey gave raving reviews to our students.

Your catering students celebrating the success of their first pizza, Godfrey (middle photo) enjoying his slice, and Kelvin (right photo) savoring his.

If your travels bring you to Liberia, we hope you will visit our center. Our catering students would love to make and serve you something savory and yummy because you are making it possible for them to learn this trade. Thank you!

Liberian children need access to primary level education

Liberian children need access to primary level education

Schools started opening this week in Liberia; however, not all children will be enrolled. In fact, “Liberia has the highest proportion of children missing out on primary school education, the United Nations said on Thursday, with nearly two-thirds of its children never stepping inside a classroom (source: Thomson Reuters Foundation News).” This equates to 62% of Liberian children not receiving primary education. As we all know, elementary school is the foundation for our educational careers and without it, we are less likely to secure a livable wage job.
UDS Star Supporters have been delivering school supplies to Russ Wood Students since 2012. They hold all classes in this one room building from kindergarten to seventh grade.

Since 2011, Uniting Distant Stars has provided scholarships to young students, who had no financial support to stay in school. Our sponsors are committed to supporting their students either through 6th grade or 12th grade. We had our first high school graduate in 2014 and two more in 2016. This is one of three programs that UDS supports the education of children and youth in Liberia.

During the 2015-2016 academic, four dedicated Star Supporters sponsored 15 students. Out of the 15, seven maintained an 80% or better for the year and six were between 70% to 80%. We have not received the grade sheets of the two graduates yet, but we know both passed. 

Unfortunately, we had our first drop out this year. This student was in the 5th grade and 18 years of age. Their education was disrupted by the civil war, poverty, and Ebola that forced them to be an older student in grade school. It is quite difficult and frustrating to be an older student sitting among younger children. All attempts were made to mentor this young person this past year to stay in school by their mother, teachers and vice principal, and UDS country director and  volunteers. However, this young adult decided to quit and we had to honor their wish. UDS doors are always open for this young person and we hope they will want to resume their education when they are ready. 

This student’s story stresses the importance of helping children attend school at an early age. In addressing this concern, UDS has added to new young students attending kindergarten through one of our sponsors. We hope to add two more young children as we wait for confirmation from two other sponsors. We currently have 15 scholarship students enrolled and their total tuition is $4,025 for this school year. 
As mentioned earlier, our scholarship program is one way we support education in Liberia. The other two are our learning center and annual school supply drives. The UDS Learning Center allows students to access a library and after school study classes to complete homework and prepare for tests. Our annual school supply drive provides 700 students with the basic necessities they need to take notes, complete they daily lessons and so forth. Sadly, several students are returning to school empty handed because their parents are unable to buy these essential supplies. 
Your generosity is extremely appreciated by the children and youth you serve in Liberia. Also, your continued support ensures young Liberians have an opportunity to achieve their academic requirements. Finally, your investment in the education of Liberian students provides a return of their employability in the job market or ability to start a business. 
Our 6th Annual School Supply Drive is about to end but there is still time to donate, share and encourage others to support Liberia’s young children. Click here for the different ways to donate or share this post on your social media sites. Remember #EducationMatters. Thank you!!!