Liberia School for the Blind (LSB), founded in 1977 and built along a water way in Virginia, Brewerville, has experienced flooding all through the years, resulting, in most cases, into huge damages and injuries to a number of visually-impaired students and their teachers.
The school campus, which also consists of separate dormitories for both genders as well as other facilities, including staff quarters, a generator or power house and a computer laboratory, has existed without a fence around it until in 2005 when the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) intervened by erecting a fence around the school (through a quick impact project).
The construction of the fence, which was seen as a means to detour onrushing rain water, has not helped, owing to the fact that the gates of the fence have provided easy access for the water, which has always led to flooding each time it rains.
It is against this backdrop that the Malachi York Foundation (MYF) recently led a campaign of money donation to the Liberia School of the Blind (LSB) in order to construct a concrete drainage around the sloping parts of the fence, to curtail or completely avert further flooding.
In an interview with the Daily Observer, the Principal and chief administrator of LSB Mr. Jackson Sowah said he is grateful to the Malachi York Foundation in particular and a number of other individuals (unnamed) who have contributed to the drainage project.
He referred to the other contributors as internal brothers, sisters and friends.
The project, which cost US$550, is almost at the verge of completion. Mr. Sowah is happy that at least one of the problems confronting his administration will soon be laid to rest.
Although he did not say how much was contributed by the MYF, he expressed his gratitude to the foundation for always being prompt in responding to situations affecting the LSB.
“We have so far received US$400 and of this amount, a significant portion was given to us by the Malachi York Foundation.
“Since they were recommended to us through the office of the Vice President of Liberia, Madam Jewel Howard Taylor, we have lots of good news to speak about,” Sowah noted.
He said the other contributors donated their tens, twenties and fifties of United States dollars in order to raise the US$400, but they are hoping that more friends or any other organization could also help provide the remaining US$150.
The principal of LSB said the need for a drainage at the front of the gates to the school campus cannot be overemphasized, because there has been lots of challenges during every rainy season.
“The Malachi York Foundation’s first contribution to this school was US$2,000 for fuel, feeding and some clothing for the students. Next was walking canes and later on they took responsibility for feeding at all of our back to school programs. It has been amazing and, as such, we are grateful to them,” he averred.
LSB is a government-run school but due to budgetary constraints, philanthropic organizations and humanitarians are now helping the school in its drive to educate the visually impaired.
“We are appealing to government to increase its subsidy allotment to this school. We have been receiving US$50,000 but that amount is not forthcoming in full any more. We know that there are challenges but to sustain the operations of this school we need not less than US$100,000,” Sowah pointed out.
He noted that there is a need to have a regular twenty-four hour electricity supply for the generator in order for students to learn computer science, in addition to providing fuel for the administration’s only utility vehicle
“That’s our next appeal to government and other donors. The pickup we use now is almost eighteen (18) years old since it was handed over to us. It is no longer efficient to serve us. We appeal that a new vehicle be made available for us,” Sowah said.
Parts of the fence are broken due to the force of water. Sowah hopes that after the drainage is constructed, the reconstruction of the fence would be his next target through the support of government and the school’s partners and donors.
“Because certain parts of the fence have collapsed, we face intrusion from outside. There are some people, mainly men, who come in and frighten our students and even our staff. We pray to have the needed support to construct a more guaranteed fence,” he added.
Dr. Malachi Z. York is the vision bearer and leader of the Malachi York Foundation; but he is serving a long prison sentence in the U.S. for a couple of crimes, including racketeering.
Dr. York’s supporters believe, however, that the charges against Dr. York that landed him behind bars were orchestrated (masterminded) simply to bring him down and further surpress the black community in the State of Atlanta, Georgia.
About Dr. York’s long-term imprisonment, Mr. Jackson Sowah said, “I am not that much abreast with the details surrounding his arrest and incarceration, but I want to join many friends and institutions out there to appeal to the U.S. government to grant Dr. York clemency and allow him come to Liberia, his found home before his incarceration.”