Written by: sprytel
Hope for Liberian Teachers have been returned to them this week. 15 years of war saw practically all teachers flee or be killed. Now through HUB’s teacher training program with Phoenix-based StarShine Academy and Youth Action International, hope has returned and a plan to bring education to a country has been fostered.
Spryte Loriano, HUB’s Chief Humanitarian Officer, files this momentous Day 3 report from the Civic Assembly Hall, Monrovia Liberia:
“Trish wanted to ‘wow’ them today, our over 600 student Teachers in the HUB/StarShine Teacher Training.
So we arrived exactly at 10:00am when the workshop was to begin. We arrived through the back door that lets us directly onto the stage. And the four of us – Trish, Jan, Amber and myself were wearing traditional Liberian dresses complete with headwraps! As soon as they saw us appear on stage from behind our makeshift screen, they began cheering, applauding, hooting and stomping for us in appreciation of our outfits! We ran to the front for a big bow, and Trish told them that we wanted to honor them today, and to share ‘our gratitude’ to them for showing up in droves each day! They went wild in appreciation for us – and we all got very teary.
It was a day of continued learning. It was also a day of clarity for them, as today we rolled out our complete plan to them. The topics I covered with them was what they will receive when they are in complete partnership with us, and what we expect of them to uphold their responsibilities to the program.
Here’s the plan: They receive…
Student manuals for each of the students they teach for School Year 2009; Student manuals for each year for those who follow the requirements of the program; the opportunity to receive additional training from StarShine; the opportunity to earn US college credits from Maricopa Colleges (Phoenix, AZ); and a Community Resource Center – a HUB in the center of Monrovia just for them, where there will be computers, internet and additional training provided on an on-going basis, and where they can ‘connect, create and collaborate’ with their fellow teacher community!
The applause and cheering was deafening after reading off each line!
Here’s what we asked of them…
To respond within two weeks, when their student manuals arrive, with the first of the tracking information on all of their students; a response within 2 weeks on all communications requesting updates and reports and to fill out all forms we send them for tracking purposes completely; regular status and update reports filled out for themselves and for all of their students over the school year.
Kimmie told us after the day was over, how surprised he was at the turnout through the entire workshop, ‘Normally in a training of this kind, you would see the full amount come the first day, then the attendance slowly dwindle as the workshop progresses; but not in this case. We were all happily surprised that every single person attended all three days, and stayed for every moment. They received a great value – and they knew it.’
The day did not end without some mishap – which I’ve found common working in Liberia. We ran out of Certificates for Graduation! So while 90% received their graduation certificates, about 10% had to wait almost two hours after the ceremony to receive it. And, EVERY one of them stayed! Each person shook our hands, gave us hugs and told us of the deep appreciation they have to us and all of our supporters.
Over and over we heard a similar comment from teachers and principals who look you deeply in your eyes with authenticity and soul, ‘During the war, many of the brightest of Liberians fled, and the others were killed. We are desperate for education to rebuild those who are here into leaders for a peaceful, sound country. We thank you so much for traveling across the sea to help us! We are deeply grateful to you.’
And at the end, after dancing to two rounds of ‘Mama Liberia,’ one of the most fantastic, rhythmic and exciting national songs I’ve ever experienced, THEY requested, yet one more time….’Fly Like an Eagle!’ and we all sang and danced together as a community in partnership for education, empowerment and sustainability for all.
Where else but HUB can you be a part of this kind of miracle and know that you are not only contributing from financial support, but that because you allow yourself to be in a ‘giving-receiving model,’ you are also in a true partnership of ‘empowerment’ for all? Each of you, will have the opportunity to partner with these pioneers of education and change in various ways.”
You will find out how very soon!