Charity Prayer Band
The educational challenges facing post-conflict Liberia are immense: lack of qualified teachers, inadequate classroom space, and absence of nurturing learning environments for children. The Liberian civil war decimated the education system and infrastructure was never fully rehabilitated. As families migrate to cities and the number of school age children rapidly increases, school construction and rehabilitation has not kept up with this pattern. In addition, reconstruction of schools has been unevenly distributed; in one daunting example, a community of 20,000 residents has access to only one government operated high school. This forces parents to deny their children an early education or endure a 1-2 hour walk to attend a likely poorly resourced school.
The Charity Community School, one of several programs of Charity Prayer Band, is an accredited school established to respond to the spiritual and socio-economic needs prevalent in the community following the end of the Liberian civil war. Through community-based projects targeting youth, women, elderly, adults, and children, Charity Prayer Band and The Charity Community School have gained prominence in the community they serve. The Charity Community School has existed for two years and operates as a full elementary and partial junior high school. The project aims to:
- Recruit and retain highly qualified teachers and provide competitive compensation
- Invest in new teaching materials, textbooks, lab facilities, and computer and technical skill training for staff and students
- Implement strategies to help teach students with special needs
- Provide students with nutritional meals and safe drinking water during school hours
- Accommodate parent work schedules and keep children until they return from work
- Diversify revenue model to stem increase of tuition fees and provide for scholarships for underprivileged students
By improving education in the community and maximizing the utilization of its human resources, Charity Prayer Band and The Charity Community School are helping its constituents become self-sustaining and lead their own destiny.
The Charity Community School currently serves 500 children and adults through its educational services and unique accelerated programs. The school was able to enroll and retain 390 students and built a high school to support expansion. In addition, 100 adults and other disadvantaged groups were able to enroll in accelerated learning programs to gain access to basic education. The school also created jobs for 20 teaching and support staff within the community at competitive rates. Finally, women took on leadership roles within the school and changed perceptions of gender roles in society.