Temporarily hired students of the Presidential Back-to-School Cleanup Campaign, have praised President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the initiative, and urged her to initiate more cleanup campaigns.
The teen students said they believe that more Presidential cleanup campaign projects would enable them to overcome their financial constraints, successfully end the academic year and take care of their critical needs.
The students made their appeal in separate interviews yesterday when over 800 of them disappointedly gathered on the grounds of the Ministry of Youth and Sports probably to see and listen to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for the first time.
However, Youth and Sports Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe was able at least to cheer them up when he announced the President’s “deepest regrets because of her busy schedule.” He told them that the commencement of payment would begin at 12:00 noon Monday.
The announcement was received with wild jubilation which shook the grounds of the Ministry of Youth and Sports on 19th Street Sinkor.
Yet, some of the students whom our reporter interviewed amplified their appeal for more presidential cleanup programs.
Mr. Swen Sackie, a 12th grader of the Lombardia High School in Gardnersville stated that since an academic year has two semesters, there should be two Presidential Back-to-School Programs.
“We want to appeal to the President, our Ma, for a 2nd Semester Back-to-School Cleanup Project,” Mr. Sackie said. “This will also help us go back to school to complete the school year.”
Samuel Carlos, a 12th grader of Jimmy Jolocon School added: “It would be a great help to us – that means it would serve as a motivation to compensate for those months that the Ebola virus took away. We hope that some of the state-owned enterprises would come to the aid of the government in this proposed biannual back-to-school program.
Besides the twice-yearly back-to-school initiative, other students are also appealing to the President to set up more cleanup campaigns to give the city and communities a face-lift during festive celebrations.
“It will be a great help if the President also sets up cleanup campaigns to help us with our welfare and needs, especially to clean up our communities during Independence and Christmas seasons,” student Janet Moeyeh said.
“Some of us have single parents, while some of us are living with relatives because our parents are in the interior while other parents are dead. So the more the President initiates cleanup campaigns, the better it will be for us,” said student Rachel Wilson.
Meanwhile, the payment of the L$4,100 to each of the 3,000 students continues today, through mobile money.
The Presidential Back-to-School Cleanup Campaign is intended to motivate the students as well as help parents and guardians prepare their children and wards for the reopening of school as the Ebola crisis winds down.
The initiative was organized and implemented by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The students were recruited week before last from 38 communities through a lottery (a secret ballot of either a blank paper or a paper with the inscription ‘job’).
The fixed ages of the work-to-study students were between 15 and 21 years and they are 6th to 12th graders.
According to the recruitment method, 48% of those recruited were boys, 47% girls and 5% disabled. Each center recruited 78 students.
The recruitment was divided into five zones: Bushrod Island, Somalia Drive, Tubman Boulevard, Paynesville and Central Monrovia.
Each zone had at least eight centers (schools), a supervisor, monitor and at most two registrars.