Why does Family of Hope exist? We exist because rural Liberian communities such as Zondo want to offer hope for their children. We exist because we believe that with financial support from the U.S., Liberians can be empowered to provide free, holistic education for students, students whose future contributions to Liberian society will help to break a cycle of violence and despair. We exist for students like Mercy, who walked four hours every day in order to complete her ninth grade education.
For many years, Liberians had no hope. One Liberian describes the 14 years of brutal civil war this way: “Our only hope then was death.” Now that the war is over, Liberians focus their hopes for the future on the education of the next generation. Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf expresses a national desire when she proclaims, “The education sector will drive the development of the country…”
Lack of government funds for education has not stopped the Zondo community from pursuing their dream. About 5,000 people live in the area, which could be reached only on foot until 2008. Even though community members had to carry all of the building materials by hand more than 5 miles, a new school has been constructed in Zondo and began operating in October, 2006. Volunteer community laborers, along with a few paid, skilled workers, built the school. Building materials and staff salaries were funded through individual donations to Family of Hope.
Today, 500 children attend the Zondo school. The newest community initiative offers further hope to female students. In rural Liberia, girls as young as six face economic pressure to work full-time on family farms. This year, twenty female Zondo students live in local homes or at the school, and community members provide food for the girls. Under the care of a trained social worker, these girls receive the support they need to stay in school. School principal Arthur Crusoe hopes that they will serve as role models for future female students.
Family of Hope exists to bring hope for Liberia through holistic education. We invite you to sustain that hope. Your financial donations allow us to partner with a Liberian community so that dedicated students like Mercy have a destination for their long journeys.
Life in Zondo