Brazilian Scholar Calls for Accelerating Girls’ Education

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The graduating class, Brazilian scholar Dr. Germana Dalberto, and school officials

A Brazilian PhD research scholar of the University of Sao Paulo has hailed the New Hope Academy (NHA) of Jacob Town for its demonstrated commitment to advancing girls education in Liberia.

Sociologist Dr. Germana Dalberto said accelerating girls education is extremely important to Liberia’s endeavor to eradicate poverty for sustainable peace, security, and development, according to a press release.

Delivering a keynote address recently at the 22nd graduation ceremony of the Kindergarten Class of the New Hope Academy (NHA), Dr. Dalberto said: “Poverty and limited opportunities are challenges in Liberia that are similarly found in Brazil, particularly in the community where I grew up. The 14 graduates, including 11 females, is a significant milestone at the New Hope Academy and Better Future Foundation, its principal sponsor.”

On the NHA’s commitment to educating the underprivileged, Dr. Dalberto, who is also a lawyer currently working in the Rule of Law and Security Institution Support Service of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), recounted the story of Professor Paulo Freire, a renowned Brazilian educator who despite being underprivileged and dropping out of school at some point, persevered through hardship and completed his education at one of Brazil’s prestigious universities.

She said Professor Paulo Freire is remembered as an accomplished educator who devoted his life to educating the underprivileged; taught farmers to read and write; and even helped them to develop new words in their communities.

Professor Freire, she said, also went on to teach locals to use education to transform their lives. She added that education is achieved through the collective efforts of the school, the family, and the community. She challenged parents to transmit to their children “words of hope that they can use to believe in themselves to become agents of positive change in the larger society.”

Meanwhile, the New Hope Academy Valedictorian, Miss Patience P. Reeves, on the topic: “Determination is the Key to Education,” said her determination and responsibility are inseparable. “Determination is a key pillar of education. It opens doors of possibilities, without which you will not get anywhere in Life,” she said.

Miss Reeves, dux of her class, said the seven steps required to demonstrate one’s determination to succeed include: being respectful, eager, appreciative, obedient, challenging, goal orientated, and attentive to one’s learning.

The occasion was attended by community leaders, elders, parents, UNMIL personnel, and the secretary general of the Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform, Mr. Adama Dempester, who noted that the level of academic success at the New Hope Academy is commendable.

Prior to the presentation of certificates to the graduates, Ms. Carla Fereguetta, who also works for UNMIL, challenged parents to invest in the education of their children; and raise them in the right way, which they will not depart from.

“Children are like our garden that needs to be watered and nurtured with good words and good examples for their future success free of regrets,” Ms. Fereguetta said.

She concluded by singing a beautiful song: “Oh Happy Day,” and was joined on the stage by the graduating kids and their class sponsor, Ms. Janell Eastburn, an emotional scene that left many in the audience in tears.

Miss New Hope Academy, Wychen Somah, recited a poem cautioning all to prioritize girls education as a prerequisite to successfully reduce poverty and increase universal literacy.
Meanwhile, Mr. Augustine Arkoi, proprietor of the school and president of the Better Future Foundation, used the occasion to reaffirm his commitment to accelerating girls education for the promotion of peace, democracy, and development in Liberia.

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