Five visually impaired students from the Christian Association of the Blind, School of the Blind and the United Blind Association of Liberia have received scholarships to advance their educational goals.
The scholarships, worth US$2,455, will cover tuition and other benefits for the selected students in their respective schools for the 2022-2023 academic year. Based on the students’ academic performances, the scholarship is subject to extension.
The scholarships were provided by Dr. Ben A. Roberts Foundation Incorporated, a United States registered institution that aims to support visually impaired students.
Uniforms, copybooks, Braille papers, t-shirts, personal hygiene supplies, rice, and many more items are covered by the scholarships.
The Dr. Ben A. Roberts Foundation provides scholarships, training, and resources to the less fortunate that are visually impaired in Liberia through private and public donations, according to authorities of the institution.
This foundation was founded by the children of the late Dr. Ben A. Roberts, in remembrance of their father’s work to give back to visually impaired students.
Dr. Roberts was an educator and a civil servant in various capacities in Liberia. He was once the head of the National Social Security and Welfare Cooperation (NASSCORP), as well as a former president of the University of Liberia.
Terence B. Krangar, the scholarship program coordinator and educational consultant for the Foundation, said before Dr. Roberts died in 2020, he lost his sight, which has given his children the desire to support the visually impaired.
“My wife and her siblings decided to establish this foundation and give back to Liberia, especially by helping the blind or visually impaired,” Krangar said.
Currently, Krangar said, the foundation is being funded by his wife and her siblings and a few friends to contribute to the purpose.
“Our goal is to continue to help the visually impaired in Liberia, especially through education. Our initial project is to sponsor five students,” Krangar said.
According to Krangar, the foundation worked with a group in Liberia to help vets, focusing on academic and need-based grants.
Krangar, who has over 20 years of classroom experience both in Liberia and the United States, said there are plans by the foundation to increase the number of beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, Krangar provided a certificate to each beneficiary and urged them to take advantage of the opportunity afforded them.
The Executive Director of the Liberia Christian Association of the Blind (CAB), Beyan Kota, expressed gratitude to Krangar and the entire leadership of the foundation for the support.
“We miss Dr. Roberts dearly as he was always a gentleman who kept his advocacy. He advocated for us to go to places we could not go and represented us at the Truth and Reconciliation conference in Gbarnga, Bong County,” Kota said.
Kota lauded Krangar and the entire family for establishing the Foundation in honor of Dr. Roberts, stating, “We all need to keep this foundation alive.”
Kota said the administration is committed to providing quality education to students that enable them to succeed in the larger society.
“No blind person has come here and returned to his or her community the same. When they came downhearted, they returned with hope. When they come without education, we provide them with education, and this is a task we are committed to doing,” he said.
According to Kota, in Liberia, the Christian Association of the Blind (CAB) is a resource center now providing the visually impaired with education and skills to function in the larger society.
“Earlier, the school had over 80 students before the Ebola virus outbreak, but currently has a little over 40 students,” he said.
According to Kota, upon Dr. Roberts losing his eyesight, he was trained at the CAB in the use of braille and others.
The principal of the School of the Blind, Jackson Suah, expressed his delight and has called on the foundation to increase the number of beneficiaries in the scholarship program.