Christmas can be a financially and emotionally challenging time for families already concerned about money and other sources of livelihood—and in an already ravaged economic conditions in Liberia that is further compounded by the impacts of the deadly COVID-19, the situation is dire. This makes the hope for a merrier Christmas an elusive dream of many underprivileged kids.
But amidst these gloomy economic and health conditions came flashes of hope as The Raphaelyn Foundation (TRF) emerged and salvaged the situation by putting smiles on the faces and bring hope to hundreds of the kids.
Established on the sole purpose to give hope and inspire lives, TRF made it her duty to ensure that six hundred children from five communities received gifts from Santa throughout the Christmas week.
The team, led by Santa, visited from door to door to give out the gifts to the kids—who were all smiles as they received their gifts. The distribution exercise lasted from Monday, December 21, 2020, to Friday, December 25, 2020.
Communities that benefited from TRF’s weeklong distribution include Duazon, Sam Beach, Shirah, Du Port Road and the SKD Sports Complex communities, where the exercise was climaxed on Christmas Day. The kids were given festive toys and food items.
The founder and Executive Director of the foundation, Raphaelyn CN Bomosy, disclosed that the team had earlier planned a massive celebration in five of the country’s 15 counties—a plan that was shattered by the impact of the ever-present COVID-19.
“We had an initial plan to celebrate this Christmas in five counties, but we had to cancel our plan due to COVID-19 and redirected our focus to home delivery of gifts to the kids in five communities here,” the founder said.
Since its establishment on November 1, 2018, TRF has celebrated Christmas every year in two counties (Montserrado and Bomi Counties) with over five hundred kids benefiting each year. The foundation has been dedicated to hosting Christmas programs and sponsoring less privileged kids in school. It also carries out a monthly rice distribution which pregnant women an elderly folks in the SKD Sports Complex Community benefit.
The pandemic destroyed all of our plans, Ms. Bomosee noted, “So sitting home as a team we said we cannot let this festive season passed without doing anything. This is how our plan for the home delivery initiative, where our Santa went from Door-Door giving out Christmas toys and food items to the kids.
The gifts delivery was done under the auspices of the “Encountering My First Santa,” project.
“So, it is usual that you come to Santa and he gives you gifts, but it is different with ours this year. We give the gift out to Santa and he goes from door to door giving out the gifts to the kids and wishing them a Merry Christmas,” she said.
She said TRF wants to live up to its Motto: “Love, Care and Educate.”
Asked to how the inspiration to established TRF came from, Ms. Bomosy noted, “It all boils down to my childhood memory. We were taught to share by our parents while growing up. And as a Christian home, we were taught to love our neighbors as ourselves.
On her 24th birthday, Ms. Bomosy said she asked God to reveal her purpose in life. “My encounter on that fateful day inspired me to live for others and not just for myself. I want to make other people, especially kids who are in most cases victims of circumstances, happy,” she added.
As a kid all was not rosy for Raphaelyn, as most times her parent could not afford for she and her siblings. She sometimes sees her childhoods in the lives of many of the less fortunate kids today.
“My upbringing was kind of difficult so all of that inspired me. I saw how my parents struggled to find food for us. I saw how many Christmases we would just sit home unable to get out there because we had nothing,” she said, adding, “No one could give us gifts. I know how if feel to not have and I also know how it feels to see people giving you gifts and the receptions that come with that. The joy it gives kids to receive these kinds of things.”
It is out of these experiences that the foundation carved it’s catchwords: “Giving Hope and Inspiring Lives.”
“We want others to feel loved when they encounter us,” the founder noted.
The administrator of the foundation, Frankie Edward Pierre, said it feels great putting smiles on the faces of kids. “I’m passionate about helping kids and this foundation has presented me a perfect space through which I can engender this burning desire within me,” he said. .
He noted that he becomes emotional most times given the reactions that he gets from some of the kids.
He noted that the reactions from some kids prove that they are in dire needs of basic childhood. He cited a case in point with kids he encountered in Bomi while identifying with kids last year. “My experience in Bomi was very emotional. For the very first time in my life I saw kids being so appreciative of having a candy, not to talk about play toys and other things that could be considered valuable,” he said.