Reyna with the kids in Fiamah, Monrovia, Liberia

Monday, September 17, 2012

Partners in Hope

Meet Florence. She is a teacher at Cornerstone Academy. There are 13 other teachers just like her between the two schools we work with, Cornerstone Academy and Reyna International Christian Academy. Florence devotes her whole day to teach children, to give them an opportunity for a much brighter future than she herself has experienced. It is hard to be a teacher anywhere, but especially hard in Liberia, West Africa.  These teachers are rarely paid, and when they are, their salary is $20 for the month, hardly enough to help them take care of themselves and their family's needs.

           The need for teachers in Liberia is so great that the government and the University of Liberia offer a free 4-year degree in teaching. They even pay for your books. This is a golden opportunity. However, many do not take advantage of it for several reasons:   1) Even if their school is paid for, the teacher struggles to find the resources to take care of their family and to pay for transportation to and from classes at the university; and   2) Even if they graduate with a teaching degree, they will not be able to find a job that pays consistently unless they uproot their whole family and move to the rural areas, where there are considerably more government schools. This would require more money, which they do not have.

         Monrovia, the capital city where Doors of Hope works, more than tripled its population during the war years as people fled to the city for refuge. So now you have a million people lacking even the most basic infrastructure, like running water and electricity, and the number of schools doesn't even come close to meeting the needs of the number of children in Monrovia. Most of the schools in the city are run by churches and private organizations, which are not able to pay the government salary. So as they say in Liberia, "This is the problem we have with our education system."

Now for the good part. I am so thankful that we work with amazing people in Liberia, such as Pastor Jallah Nupolu and his wife Martha (above), founders of Cornerstone Academy,  and Pastor Lincoln Togbah and his wife Chepay (right), principal of Reyna International Christian Academy. They see and clearly understand the problems relating to education in Liberia, but are determined to create solutions that will improve the lives of their communities. While I was in Liberia in June, I spent many hours talking to these leaders, and we came up with a plan, a "Teach for Liberia" if you will.  Our plan is for Doors of Hope to pay a consistent salary of $50 a month to our teachers as long as they agree to take classes towards their teaching degree and be a faithful employee of the school. This will enable them to provide  for their families more consistently, while also encouraging and empowering them to obtain the training they need to become quality teachers. The teachers benefit, the students benefit, and the whole community benefits by having a quality, established school.

 In order to make this a reality, we need more committed partners with our organization. We are looking for 30 Partners in Hope who will commit at least $25 monthly to help pay the salary of our teachers and raise the quality of the school and community. $25 a month is a small sacrifice for us, but imagine the changes it can make in the life of a teacher like Florence, her family, Cornerstone Academy, and the community. Imagine if, as a result of this initiative, 5 years from now we have 14 teachers with degrees! Students who are being taught at their grade level and are prepared to go on to some of the best secondary schools in Liberia!  Girls staying in school and not having babies at an early age! This is what the community in Liberia is hoping for, and it can be a reality. We need your help.


If you commit to being a monthly Partner in Hope, please shoot us an email at and tell us how you would like to receive a reminder of your commitment every month. We can send you an email, text, or Facebook message. We also send out newsletters 4 times a year and you can always visit our Facebook page, Doors of Hope Foundation.

If you would like to give a one-time donation to this teacher initiative, but not sign up to be a monthly Partner in Hope, you can visit our GoFundMe page and direct your donation to this.

Or you can always send your gift to Doors of Hope at 2814 W. McLean St., Chicago, Il 60647. From our hearts, we want to say THANK YOU for being willing to offer hope to students, teachers, and communities in Liberia!