F. SHAM, Foundation for Women Founder Open High-Tech School for Girls

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 F. SHAM of Faith Girls Academy over the weekend officially commemorated the “Open House” of high-technology for girls in the Soul Clinic Community of Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

The F. SHAM is transforming an all girls school into a high-technology institution with two well-equipped modern computer laboratories and a science laboratory.

The program, which began with touring of the pre-school classes, pastry and cosmetology sections, science laboratory, the two computer laboratories, brought together high profile individuals, among them, US Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah R. Malac, and other members of a visiting American delegation from San Diego, California.

In their separate remarks, each of the delegates,  including the dean of San Diego University, Dr. Paula Cordiero, and an instructor of the same university, Dr. Lea Hubbard expressed gratitude to the F. SHAM administration for their commitment to mold the minds of the youths, particularly the girls.

As for Ambassador Malac, she underscored the need to prepare the young girls in their quest to attain education, “because, as a young girl, the challenges are enormous.”

Earlier in a special remark, the Vice President of Liberia,  Joseph Nyumah Boakai, Sr., who was represented by his  Chief of Staff, expressed his displeasure about the way and manner in which the youths that supposed to be in schools are nowadays being used as ‘breadwinners’ for other family members.

According to Mr. Sam Stevequoah, one of the surest ways to ensure a bright future for the youths is to invest in their education, rather than use them to sell on the street corners.

He maintained that investment in the education of the youths is one means to empower them to secure a brighter future.

The F. SHAM Girls Academy

The Liberia Education Master Plan in 1999 reported that Africa had about 57.65 percent male, and 42.38 percent female students. Of this data, Liberia cannot even boast of ratio of 5 to 3 school-going girls to that of boys. The dropout rate for Girls is very high. Most girls end up in the streets with nothing to do, thereby forcing them into early marriage or parenthood.   

It is against this background that the need for the establishment of an institution like, F-SHAM of Faith Girls Academy became necessary.

F-SHAM offers basic educational program for Girls, which provides the foundation for continuous and lifelong learning for sustenance.

The institution is the first of its kind in the country.  It was established in April 2000, by five prominent Liberian women, who saw the need for such venture during the post war period of national reconstruction.

The idea of establishing F-SHAM, according to the principal, Madam Sarah K. Taylor, started when she, (serving as a proprietress and a founding member), was in the service of her church school, St. Peters Lutheran High School.

As a principal, Mrs. Taylor had some administrative problems with the Parish Council for refusing to provide the needs of the students.

This frustration led her to one of the Board members, Mrs. Mildred P. George, telling her of her (Mrs. Taylor) intention to resign as a principal of St. Peters Lutheran high school.

On April 19, 2000 the birthday of Sarah’s son, the plan to establish the F.SHAM all girls academy was formulated.

The three ladies decided to seek God’s guidance, which led to three-day fast and prayer.   At the end of the fast, they had a message that they should open a school for girls only.

Helen, Mildred and Sarah did not have the capital to start, hence shared God’s message with Korto and Sis. Fannie. They decided to seek help from a senior citizen of the congregation, Mr. James Beyan Barr Sr. of the Lutheran Church, who became very supportive of the idea.

The three ladies decided to seek God’s guidance which led to a fast and prayer for three days. At the end of their fast, Helen, Mildred and Sarah received a message that they should open a school for girls only.

Thereafter, for five years each of the ladies paid the sum of US$1000 annually, hence the birth of F-SHAM in the year 2000.

The F.SHAM is an acronym of these five outstanding Liberian ladies who are in partnership for quality education with the Foundation for Women, founded and headed by the FW CEO, Ms. Deborah Lindholm. 

The school offers a basic educational program for girls, which provides the foundation for continuous and lifelong learning for sustenance, particularly in the area of sciences.

The name F-SHAM originated from the founders names: F- Fannie Dunbar Bull (Mrs.) S- Sarah Kokulo Taylor (Mrs.) H- Helen Zoe Reed (Mrs.) A     – Aletha Korto Hoff (Mrs.) M- Mildred P. George (Mrs.)

The school’s vision is to provide, among other things, a unique opportunity for the students (all girls) to have sound Christian education, and prepare them for good citizenship. 

The mission is to aid students (all girls) educationally in their growth towards full maturity.

The high technology school is the first low-fee independent school for girls in Liberia.

The transformation of F-SHAM involves a refurbishment of the structure, and interior courtyard. This includes two state-of-the art computer laboratories, and a solar system to provide power, eliminating the expensive use of a generator.

The upgrade also includes the latest technology with high speed internet, video connection worldwide, access to global software and teaching support, and the transformation of the school’s accounting system. The school will benefit students of F-SHAM, the staff and the community.

The mission is to aid students (all girls) educationally in their growth towards full maturity and good citizenship.

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