UNICEF inaugurates schools with furniture and water and sanitation facilities in Liberia
UNICEF inaugurated nine school buildings with furniture, water and toilet facilities for three remote primary schools in impoverished Sinoe County on 12 and 13 March 2014. The new facilities, which were handed over to the Ministry of Education and the communities, are part of the 90 primary school construction and renovation project supported by the Government of Japan.
SINOE COUNTY, Liberia, 12-13 March 2014 – Thirteen years old Rita Kayarn is a third grade student of the remote Kieh primary school in Sinoe county. Sitting on her new armchair in front of a big black board and surrounded by clean white walls in a breezy and cool classroom, Rita declared, “Now we are happy,” when UNICEF asked how she felt about her new school.
UNICEF officially handed over new school facilities for Bolue, Kieh and Nyarn primary schools under Sinoe county to the Ministry of Education on 12 and 13 March 2014. Besides nine fully furnished school buildings, the schools also have library rooms, principal and staff rooms, water pumps and separate toilets for boys and girls.
“We are grateful to the government and UNICEF for choosing to build this beautiful and grand school in our remote village,” said the Kieh village chief adding that the community built four log bridges so that trucks could deliver construction materials for the school. “We understand the importance of education and so we want our children to go to school. We all worked so hard to have the school in our village,” he said.
Before construction of the new school, Principal Gabriel of Kieh primary school said that all his students were crammed in the village’s small make-shift church. “Since they were all in the same room, it was very difficult to conduct the classes,” he said.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Deputy Education Minister Khalifa Bility acknowledged UNICEF’s commitment towards delivering education services to remote and hard to reach areas. “It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to take up such a big task of building schools in remote villages. And we are grateful to UNICEF and the Government of Japan for this valuable support,” he said.
“I appeal to all parents to take advantage of this support by ensuring that you send your children to school. This is the beginning of your children’s journey to a big and better life,” he added.
Handing over the school keys to the government, UNICEF Liberia Deputy Representative Dr. Fazlul Haque, said that the new classrooms were not just structures but sacred learning spaces to transform children’s lives by opening up a world of opportunities for them. He thanked the local communities for allocating their land for the school and urged them to send all their children to school.
While committing UNICEF’s continued support for equitable quality education for all children in Liberia, Dr. Haque urged the government to address the issue of teacher and text book shortages in schools. “These are pre-requisites for delivery of quality education,” he said.
Meanwhile, 22-year old Sophie from Kieh village is very happy that she can send her daughter Angle to school. “We are deep in the bush and therefore could not have educated our children if the school was not here,” she said. “I say thank you to UNICEF and Japan for building the school for our children. My Angle can now become the President one day,” she said.
“We are thankful for all the support and we will ensure that the facilities are well maintained so that our children’s children will continue to study in this beautiful and modern school,” said William P Kai, community leader of Bolue village.
UNICEF constructed the school buildings and other facilities with funding support from the Government of Japan. This project is part of the Japanese government’s US$ 8.6 million support for the construction and rehabilitation of 90 schools across Liberia.
In addition to construction and supply of school furniture and learning materials, UNICEF supports the Ministry of Education and partners in policy and curriculum development; livelihood and life-skills development and teacher training.
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