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The Senwah Foundation’s quest to invest in Liberia’s education sector continues in a different dimension as evidenced by a recent field trip of students from Western Liberia, particularly Grand Cape Mount County, to Monrovia and its suburbs.
The field trip, which took place on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, brought 21 students of Betty Memorial Institute and the Mani Public School in Grand Cape Mount County to Monrovia.
The students, many of who seemed to be visiting Monrovia for the first time, were very excited visiting the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Sinkor, particularly the pediatrics department (children’s ward) and lectured by nurses and doctors.
The students also visited J-Palm Liberia, a Liberian-owned company involves in creating premium quality cosmetic goods, including kernel fresh, soap, cream, lotion, and other different products since its establishment in 2013.
Jassie-Fredcia Senwah, Founder and Executive Director of Senwah Foundation said the initiative was intended to expose the students to different things that they would meet ahead when they are pursuing their future career.
Director Senwah said often students in rural Liberia are forgotten, stressing that there is a need for them to be given an opportunity to visit places that will make them exposed.
“Some of them need to know what it means to ride an elevator and escalator. They also need to know how an airport looks because they do not regularly visit such a place,” Director Senwah said.
The elated students also visited the Daily Observer Headquarters in Paynesville where the Managing Director Bai S. G. Best lectured them in different things including the journalism world. The lecture was followed by a tour of the facility, including the library that addresses the research needs of students and researchers.
“Through working with some of the students, a lot of them have explained to us what they want to be in the future. This encouraged the foundation to launch its field trip pilot project for them. So, if you want to be a health practitioner in the future, the foundation provides the opportunity for you to interact or hear from the doctors and nurses to help them to think better,” Director Senwah said.
She said the students also visited the University of Liberia’s main campus on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.
She said her foundation intends to begin organizing workshops for teachers to build their skills while describing her foundation’s initiatives as “love for the country.”
“I have been blessed to stand on the shoulders of people who have inspired me all through this. My father and aunt were believers in education to change the world, but unfortunately, their lives were cut short due to the civil crisis. We don’t want their vision and dreams to be limited because they are no more,” Director Senwah added.
Mahmud Johnson, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of J-Palm Liberia (JPL), said he was excited to see such an initiative by Senwah.
“It’s very important at an early age in life to see different things that people are doing, because it helps young people to identify what they intend to do in the future. Interestingly, we never know what we end up becoming in life. You may decide to be a doctor first and end up as an accountant because it becomes more interesting to you later,” Mr. Johnson said.
According to Mr. Johnson, while growing up, he decided to be a police officer but now he is involved in something different from the initial plan.
“It’s good to plan for the future because it becomes easier to achieve it and put one in the lead to help you select the kind of career to studying at the university. Again, failure to plan is planning to fail, so, always learn to plan. Planning for the future will help you to know where to seek an internship,” Johnson indicated.
Mr. Johnson told the students that if anyone wants something and starts working towards it, especially by writing it down, it helps to achieve it.
He said the 40 employees of the company started as agents, but now many of them are holding key positions.
J-Palm’s products are natural and most of the materials are produced locally. Convincing students about the products, Mr. Johnson said some of the creams on the market have many chemicals that damage people’s skins, which led to the company transitioning to produce natural products to circumvent using creams with too many chemicals. He said using creams with too many chemicals have a health consequence.
“People really like the kernel oil because it cleans their skin and also makes it smooth. Later, we started making soap, hair product, cream, and baby oil which are all-natural products for people to take care of their skin,” he noted.
Michelle Samukai Bartee, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kay Beauty who served as a motivational speaker, called on the students to be focused and have a passion for whatever they want to do in life.
“Today, many of the students want to be doctors, petroleum engineers, and lawyers, and it calls for being focused. I just encourage them to study hard, learn to ask good questions, engage in research and put a time to reading,” Mrs. Bartee said.
She further called on the students to focus on the private sector in helping to transform Liberia and not only the public sector that many people are used to in our society. “It’s important to find your passion in the private sector and expand on it.”
Mrs. Bartee who gained her education in the United States indicated that Liberia’s education system has changed that it is no longer on par with others in the world.
“Prior to the civil crisis, the country had a good education system, but this is not the case now. There is a need to train teachers and school administrators to return to the status quo,” said Bartee.
According to her, Liberia’s education system in the past had prestige because the country was producing scholars, educators, professionals who competed with others around the world.
“Most of the students who left Liberia during the course of the war competed with students in different countries and even did better than some of those students. Again, the world has accelerated now with the coming of technology which comes with electricity, and there is a need for us to focus on it. Our students are far behind as compared to other countries, ” she stated.