Tuition Assistance Provided to Children of Visually Impaired

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Primary school education is one of the building blocks of life. However, for children living in poverty in Liberia, the likelihood of accessing and completing their primary school education cycle is substantially reduced.

Those chances are even worse for children of visually impaired parents. Across the streets of Monrovia, they often serve as guides, helping their parents to walk between cars to beg drivers for money to sustain their livelihoods.

Yama Kollie is a child who attends the Cavalry Covenant School and has two visually impaired parents.

Her parents say they often beg on the street to help pay their daughter’s tuition. Kollie’s father, Stephen, said due to their visual impairment, coupled with the economic hardship in the country, his daughter was sent home on several occasions for failing to pay her school fees on time.

“We had no hope that our daughter was going to return to the classroom soon,” he added.

(L-R) Mamie and Stephen Kollie with their daughter Yama Kollie. Photo: Moses N. Buwee

(L-R) Mamie and Stephen Kollie with their daughter Yama Kollie. Photo: Moses N. Buwee

When a local NGO launched a fundraising campaign to provide tuition support for families like the Kollies, the family said they were appreciative of the help, which will now allow their daughter to stay in school.

Destined Kids Assistance Program recently launched the fundraising drive at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville with the aim of raising over US$2,000 to allow over 79 underprivileged children, most of whom have parents suffering from visual disabilities, to complete the last semester of the year.

During the launch of the campaign, Geanjay G. Roberts, head of Liberia-Ghana Missions, a religious charity, said her institution has been looking at the work that Destined Kids is involved with and decided to provide help.

Geanjay G. Roberts, head of Liberia-Ghana Mission. Photo: Moses N. Buwee

Geanjay G. Roberts, head of Liberia-Ghana Mission. Photo: Moses N. Buwee

According to Roberts, Liberia-Ghana Missions pledged to pay 40 percent of the tuition of 48 children. She said her organization would have done more had there not been “low funding from its donor partners.”

“The children of visually-impaired parents could become future leaders tomorrow,” she said, adding that the organization plans to do more in the future.

Joseph B. Wenneh, co-founder of Destined Kids, applauded the Liberia-Ghana Mission for its support and said it is his wish to see more funds from other sources be made available to keep less fortunate children in school.

Wenneh called on other organizations and philanthropists to come to the aid of the children.

Featured photo courtesy of Moses N. Buwee

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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