TeachforLiberia, a non-governmental Liberian educational organization, recently held a silent fundraising auction in a bid to help improve the teaching skills of men and women who are found teaching children across the country.
The event, which saw several Liberian expatriates (emigrants) and other nationals gathered at the central offices of TeachforLiberia not to only view the paintings of two renowned Liberian artists, Cyrus Cooper and Leslie Lumeh as well as German artist and blacksmith, Manfred Zbrzezny, but to generate yet another hope for Liberian children to gain the best through collective and sacrificial efforts.
The executive director and co-founder of TeachforLiberia Desmond Diggs said there is never a good time to do good, most especially when it comes to raising funds and gathering other resources to educate children who are not one’s own biological relatives or family members; but love for humanity always makes a difference.
“This is a silent art auction with paintings done by two Liberian artists and an international artist. The three great artists are our partners who have agreed that we auction their art works and take 25 percent of the money generated so as to ensure there is quality training for teachers who enroll in our program to help Liberian children acquire better education,” Diggs said.
He said his organization began its operation in the country since six years ago, with the objective of working alongside authorities of the Ministry of Education (MoE) as well as other stakeholders, to recruit young college graduates and encourage them to go into the teaching profession.
“There is a great deficit when it comes to manpower in the administration of education at the classroom levels. Therefore, we recruit young people with minimum college degrees and train them. They stay in our program for two years and offer their best in the development of students,” Mr. Diggs said.
He added: “There is a need for a paradigm shift in the running of affairs in the education sector of the country, more so with results coming from regional exams, such as the West Africa Senior Certificate Exams (WASCE).”
“Often times you read the newspapers, you see the doom and gloom due to the massive failure of our students who sit the WASSCE as well as the poor preparation of university students who, in the end, enter the job market and help to pollute it with poor performance,” Diggs said.
According to him, there are other students and graduates who do better but, but they lack opportunities that could help them to acquire needed skills and make an impact in society.
He said this is why his organization has come to buttress the effort of the MoE in making quality education a reality.
Leslie Lumeh, one of the two Liberian artists whose works were auctioned, said he was impressed that he has given something to educate children.
“I am happy that 25 percent of proceeds coming from the sale of my art work will be used by TeachforLiberia to train teachers to acquire the best skills and teach our children. Every Liberian child is my child as far as I am concerned, and my interest, therefore, is to do the little I can to support programs that seek to improve their lives through education,” Lumeh said.
Lumeh, a former cartoonist at the Daily Observer, now runs an art school and participates in projects that seek to uplift the living conditions of people, specifically children and folks who live in community predominantly occupied by people living with various forms of disability.
Manfred Zbrzezny, the German artistic blacksmith residing in the country, said he is a member of the global community to which Liberia is a part. As such, he is pleased to offer his resources for the education of people.
Zbrzezny has been in Liberia since 2005 and is married to a Liberian lady.
“I use scraps from the spoiled of the country’s civil war and turned them into materials such as candle stands and sculptures from which people benefit. I am interested in peace and for peace I live,” he said.
Although Diggs did not say how much his organization has as its target, he hoped that more money can be raised to undertake his project.