Authorities at the Liberia School of the Blind in Virginia, outside Monrovia in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE) recently presented certificates of recognition and appreciation to their benefactors for all the good done to them over the years.
The ceremony, which coincided with the school’s 42nd on March 26, 2019’s anniversary brought together representatives from the United States Embassy near Monrovia, the Malachi York Foundation and Mary’s Meals.
Deputy Education Minister for Instruction, Alexander Duopu, presented to each of the benefactors a certificate with the inscriptions: “We are pleased to award this certificate to you in due recognition and appreciation of your hard work, sensitivity, immeasurable humanitarian contributions, and remarkable achievements to the growth and development of Liberia through your demonstrated exemplary love and concerns, which reflect the interest of the Liberian people, including people with disabilities.”
The principal of the school, Jackson Suah, himself a visually impaired person, signed the certificates, while Minister Duopu approved them all.
In separate remarks, both Jackson and Duopu expressed gratitude for the level of support the school has so far received, and continues to receive from humanitarian organizations, governments and people from far and near.
In her acceptance of the certification of appreciation, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, Alyson Grander, lauded the school for the certificate and said the U.S. Government through its Monrovia’s Embassy was honored by the recognition for identifying with the school over the years.
“The U.S. government will not discriminate against persons with disabilities and that USAID will work to ensure the inclusion and active participation of persons with disabilities in its funded programs and activities,” Grander assured the disabled community which is inclusive of the visually impaired.
The vice president of the Malachi York Foundation, Den Tut Rayay, also expressed gratitude to the school for the honor bestowed upon the Foundation.
The Foundation has on previous occasions donated 80 white canes for the entire staff and student body, US$1000 during the 2018 Christmas season. “I am pleased that there is a great bond of friendship existing between the school and the Malachi York Foundation,” Mr. Rayay said.
“We are proud to continue on the Philanthropic works of Dr. Malachi York as he awaits his repatriation from the United States to Liberia. We are also grateful and pray that God grants us more resources to continue lending support to you and other communities, Rayay said.
As one of the guest speakers of the anniversary celebration, Millias Z. Sheriff, Assistant Education Minister for Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), said providing vocational education to all is an important investment any nation can boast of in these days of competing priorities.
Sheriff who launched the technical and vocational education (TVET) program of the school, said in no way can someone’s disability be his or her inability when the right opportunities are accorded the person.
“The students here, and even some of the teachers, including the principal are visually impaired, but they are great assets to our country. All they need is our support as people and government,” he said.
Earlier, Mr. Suah said the school’s last grade level for now is sixth, and that the graduates, who are currently attending other schools are “performing very well.”
“We have some who have even graduated from the Cuttington University and other colleges in the country” Suah said.
For the training of the students in soap making, tie and dying, computer and a host of other skills, Suah appealed to government and all those who have stood and continue to stand by the school to contribute towards the building of a nine classroom structure before the resumption of next academic year.
The 42nd anniversary was marked by melodious songs from the school salvation singers’ choir, a drama and other performances, as well as additional speeches from other beneficiaries of the school’s recognition.
Mary’s Meals, a not for profit organization that give the students food at every lunch time was among the those recognized and appreciated by the certificate.
At present, there are 52 students attending the school, and all are residing at the dormitories.