Students, staff and administration at the School for the Blind in Virginia, Lower Montserrado County all have reasons to smile as the Malachi York Foundation, in collaboration with LIFESPAN LIBERIA on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, gave them rice, cash, canes or walking sticks, as their Christmas’ gifts.
In his presentation of 84 white walking canes, several 50kg bags of rice, tins of sardines, and toys to the administration of the school, the president of the Malachi Z. York Foundation, Den Tut Rayay, said the gesture was the foundation’s own way of identifying with the disabled community in the country during the festive season.
Mr. Rayay added, “as Sabaeans, we are taught to shoot for the stars, and it is a dream come true to be in Liberia fulfilling the dreams of Marcus Garvey, and many of those that came before us and, very interestingly, we are here continuing the works of Dr. Malachi Z. Kobina York.”
He said he and his colleagues are in the country to ensure that the philanthropic and charitable works of Dr. Malachi Z. York, which are fond of making good men better, continue undauntedly.
“It’s a blessing to be in Liberia, the country in this part of West Africa that is considered by us, the indigenous African-Americans living in the United States as the door of return,” he said.
About a festival, code-named “Journey home festival,” he said his Foundation and its partners have planned to host in the country in June, 2019, with the objective to attract huge investments, and reconnect those of African descent back to their original continent.
“As we prepare for our Journey Home Festival scheduled for June, 2019, our goal is to encourage other Sabaeans, Nuwaupians, and African Americans in the diaspora to set a precedence by being active participants in the economic growth of Liberia in particular, and West Africa in general,” he said.
Rayay said as African descendants they have a responsibility beginning with this main land called Liberia to bridge the gap and utilize their resources to assist those that are less fortunate.
He admonished the school administration to use the L$150,000 for the feeding of the visually impaired students, the provision of petroleum or fuel for the running of the school’s generator as well as clothing for some of the students, who have been completely abandoned by the parents or guardians.
He thanked the government under the stewardship of President George Weah, and the people of Liberia for the warm reception they have received, and continue to receive since their arrival from the United States of America.
The vice president for the Foundation, Saqar Ahhah Ahershu said it cost the Foundation a little over US$1600 or L$252,000 and that the Foundation was also pleased to donate 2 bluetooth radios, one for the students and the other is for the staff.
Ahahh said the assistance of rice, sardines and popcorn given to the Malachi York Foundation by Jim Holder Memorial Marine Club in the U.S. He added that the kissi butter medicated soap was LIFESPAN LIBERIA’s own way of identifying with the students and the staff of the school.
The president and founder of LIFESPAN LIBERIA, Professor Martin Scott Tabi, said he was moved to establish LIFESPAN in 2003 when he realized that life expectancy in Liberia was age 40 and that not too many persons of the country’s population care about certain aspects, such as having a sustainable income, since it is a scarce commodity in the country.
Tabi challenged the instructors at the school to do their utmost best as they provide instructions and guidance to the students, and called on students to aim high in their moral and academic pursuits.
Montserado Right Bank District Education Officer, Kpaka Bill Kemah, expressed gratitude to see that the Malachi Z. York’s Foundation could travel from far to identify with students or a fragment of a population many believe is the least in society.
“These children need caregivers. While philanthropic organizations such as the Malachi Z. York Foundation and LIFESPAN LIBERIA come in to help, government, community dwellers and others connected to these children, some of whom are even at ages 3, 4, 5 and 6, should see a growing responsibility to help,” Kemah said.
The principal of the school, Jackson Suah, received the donations and thanked the Malachi York Foundation, LIFESPAN LIBERIA and others who contributed towards the livelihood of the students and their teachers.
Meanwhile the two organizations and the school signed a memorandum of understanding to start an agricultural program for the benefit of the students and their caregivers.
The program was also graced by the City Mayor of Clay Island, Morris G. Richards and a host of residents of Virginia.