At a glance: Liberia

400,000 Liberian children receive school supplies from UNICEF

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© UNICEF Liberia/2005/Grossman
As children look on UNICEF learning materials are delivered off a canoe on the shores of Maryland County, Liberia.

By Patrick Slavin

HARPER, Liberia, 2 December 2005 – In a symbol of hope for Liberia’s children, UNICEF is distributing educational supplies to some 2,000 public schools across the country, benefiting nearly half a million students.

“The school supplies are going to every government primary school in the country,” explained UNICEF Representative in Liberia Angela Kearney.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Liberia/2005/Grossman
Eager students line up to receive their own set of exercise books, pencils, and crayons.

“Starting last month in Maryland County, in south eastern Liberia UNICEF is distributing 5,500 educational kits – each kit consists of enough school supplies for 80 children for three months. The supplies include exercise books, pens and pencils, and crayons. They also have teacher’s supplies like chalk, erasers, and flipcharts,” added Ms. Kearney.

All the supplies are delivered directly to the schools free of charge, thanks to the support of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, the World Food Programme, and other partners.

For the many communities that are inaccessible by road the learning materials are sent over the sea. In Maryland County 50,000 children received their kits delivered by a 60-foot Fanti canoe and a powerboat from a UNICEF partner, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC).

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Liberia/2005/Grossman
A student holding his UNICEF exercise book, which was delivered by boat.

“Getting the supplies offshore is only the first step,” said Gilbert Bouic, country programme manager for DRC. “Once on land, the boxes are then carried to the schools, which can be a good hour’s trek. Nearly everyone involved with this process is a volunteer, which shows the commitment Liberians have to educate their children.”

Once the boxes arrive at each school eager students line up to receive their own set of exercise books, pencils, and crayons.

“What’s so effective about the educational kits is that the supplies also encourage students to come to school in the first place,” said a school vice principal Wilmont Thompson. “Some kids come to school because we give them materials like exercise books and crayons. It’s a great help.”


 

 

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2 December 2005: UNICEF correspondent Patrick Slavin reports on the distribution of educational kits for nearly half a million schoolchildren in Liberia.

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To help announce the distribution of school supplies, and to celebrate the reopening of schools in Liberia, UNICEF is distributing a 90-second video, “When I Grow Up,” to television stations in the Liberian capital and hundreds of video clubs across the country.

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