The office of Montserrado County Electoral District #10, Julius F. Berrian, has embarked on the construction of a 16-classroom modern school on the controversial ‘Peace Island’ in Congo Town, outside Monrovia.
The ‘Peace Island’ is popularly referred to as “540” taking the name from the day those recruited into the ranks and file of the former Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), were discharged and paid US$540 each. They voluntarily settled themselves on the Island which was at the time unoccupied.
According to the construction supervisor, Peter Korgar, the school, when completed will be one of the first ever modern schools in the community since the Island was inhabited 12 years ago.
Mr. Korgar disclosed that a little over US$150K is required to finish the project which stands at foundation level with basic work ongoing.
“After completion the school will be turned over to the government to run. It will comprise elementary, junior and senior high divisions,” Mr. Korgar revealed.
Construction work is expected to be completed before the next academic year and will cater to most of the “vulnerable school going kids” beginning their educational sojourn, a majority of them, for the first time, said Korgar.
Upon the completion of the project, the office of the Montserrado lawmaker will also undertake the construction of a spacious reading room and a state-of-the-art health facility, Mr. Korgar said.
Earlier in a brief comment to the Daily Observer, Rep. Berrian said he felt a sense of “guilt and urgency” to construct the school in an area regarded as uninhabited because government is yet to officially establish rightful ownership of “Peace Island”.
"I felt guilty, but with the sense of urgency representing that environment for a few years now and feeling bad that I haven't given back anything to the residents who voted me into office in their numbers. Therefore, I want children in the community to have basic education," he said.
Rep. Berrian said, “But it's more than education since I have decided to use my own hard earnings to construct other facilities in the community such as a children’s playground, to include volleyball and a kickball pitch.”
Without acquiring general education, it is difficult to teach people about recreation and social activities, said Rep. Berrian, adding, "Ignorance breeds superstition, fear, doubt, confusion, hatred, witchcraft, etc.," Berrian added.
In their separate reactions, some of the community members, among them Pastor Moses Womleh, John A. Siaway, and a market woman, Issatta Paye, welcomed the Berrian initiative and assured him of their support.