President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will today dedicate the Nathaniel Varney Massaquoi Public School in the Township of West Point, one of the largest slum communities near Monrovia.
Renovation work on the only public school in the township was recently completed. The school was looted and partially damaged by angry residents protesting the August 20, 2014 attempt by the Liberian government to designate it as an Ebola Treatment Unit.
The school will open its doors to over 1,500 students who are anxious to resume classes, Acting West Point Commissioner J. Sampson Nyan told the Daily Observer.
The school is part of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS). It has been upgraded to Junior High, with a library, ceiling fans in every classroom as well as a modern 12 compartment toilet facility. An outside hand washing faucet with chlorinated water stands in readiness in keeping with the Ebola preventive protocol of the Ministry of Health.
Erected in the 1970s during the William R. Tolbert administration, it was named in memory of the former Education Secretary, Nathaniel V. Massaquoi.
The Department of Children, Family and Human Services (DCF) and the UN Partners are the major sponsors of the school’s renovation, estimated at US$300,000.
Other sponsors include the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), German Agro Action (Welthungerhilfe), German Corporation, KFW, Liberty & Justice and the Right to Play.
The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) sponsored 50 men from its engineering company to assist with the renovations. The AFL’s involvement is part of a reconciliation pact with the Township for the shooting death of a West Point youth and injury of several other residents during a riot resulting from an attempt by the AFL to quarantine the area during the height of the Ebola pandemic.
“Each registered student will receive a free package containing a book bag, a dozen copy books, pencils, pens, packs of detergents and a bucket,” Mr. Nyan said.
Meanwhile, Acting Commissioner Nyan is expected to be gowned today during the ceremony by the Township.
Commissioner Nyan, according to reports, solicited a grant from the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and other organizations, to support over 100 single women, including marketers and Ebola survivors. He is reported to have initiated the installation of six hand pumps erected by the British charity, Oxfam, and the ongoing psychosocial counseling by the Liberian Red Cross.
The Township of West Point has a population of about 85,000. During the August 24 quarantine stand-off between residents and the AFL, 16-year-old Shakie Kamara was shot and died from his wounds. Another teenager, Titus Nuah, who was shot in the stomach, survived.