Our work in Liberia
The fragile economy of Liberia, devastated by the civil war, could not recover due to the Ebola crisis. 500,000 children are no longer going to school and another 500,000 are at risk of dropping out soon. Moreover, only 36% of girls can read compared to 63% for boys. Therefore, it is urgent to improve the situation in the country where gender equality is the lowest in the world (UNDP, 2015).
Street Child Switzerland has been working together with its local sister organization Street Child of Liberia (SCoL) since 2013. We manage various projects with the common goal of making education accessible to everyone. We started first in Monrovia, and then expanded our actions to remote areas such as Maryland County, one of the poorest regions in the country.
Since September 2016, Street Child of Liberia has been working with the Liberian Ministry of Education to improve education quality in government schools. Street Child's plan is based on 4 axes: school management, teacher training, the attendance of teachers and pupils and parents' involvement in the learning process.
Street Child of Liberia also started a new accelerated learning program in February 2017. 750 children aged 8 to 12 participated for a period of 6 months. The aim of this program is to successfully bring these children back to a government school.
Street Child provides psychosocial support to street-bound children to make sure that these children don’t have to fend for themselves anymore. Our social workers look for a relative or a foster family who can take care of them.
Street Child supports these children through school fairs and the distribution of school materials such as uniforms, books, shoes and bags. Then, the social workers regularly visit schools to check the attendance and progress of the children.
During the Ebola crisis, Street Child social workers provided support to traumatized orphans and implemented the so-called "Streetcorner education" to street children.
We support families through the Family Business Scheme for a long term impact. They receive a scholarship and training to set up and run a business. The aim of this program is to see parents/caregivers cover the costs of education themselves thanks to their business profit.
In July 2016, a specialized Street Child research team interviewed more than a thousand young women about the obstacles to education. Teenage pregnancy, early marriages and cultural beliefs were mentioned, but the biggest obstacle turned out to be poverty. In 2016, Street Child of Liberia started a three-year program for a thousand girls and their families in Montserrado, Grand Capa Mount and Margibi.
BENEDICT, THE TEACHER COMMITTED TO TRANSFORMING LIVES
Benedict was a volunteer teacher at Borlorla School for over seven years despite a three-hour journey to school every day.
Street Child began helping the school in 2016, giving teachers like Benedict extra training and supporting them onto government payroll. Street Child’s involvement in the school has been so successful so far, that attendance has skyrocketed from one hundred and fifty students to over four hundred, despite the one to two-hour average walk for most children! To help with this huge increase in students, Street Child is now working closely with the community to build extra classrooms and provide learning materials.
ESTHER, THE SOCIAL WORKER CHAMPIONING GIRLS' EDUCATION
'I want to help other mothers, to be a role model. Working with these girls, I found my passion for social work.'
Street Child social worker and mother of two Esther Harris works with mothers and girls to help give them a chance to go to school. Esther has overcome the challenges life has thrown at her, including having to drop out of school for a short amount of time because of poverty, and is helping to open up opportunities for other mothers to not only better their own lives, but also their children’s.