Vice president Jewel Howard Taylor will today launched the ‘Jewel Starfish’ foundation for the empowerment of girls across Liberia to prepare them to take leadership in the near future.
Taylor said the foundation will educate girls and make them understand the impact that women make when they are educated.
The Vice President made the statement Tuesday, October 16, at her capitol building office when she disclosed plans about the launch of the Jewel Starfish Foundation and dinner evening that will provide scholarships other educational empowerment for girls across the country.
The Jewel Starfish Foundation will be launched at a dinner on Thursday evening, October 18, in collaboration with the International SHEROES Forum.
Madam Taylor said the issue of educating disadvantaged young girls in Liberia is her paramount concern because, being the first female Vice President of Liberia, she also came from humble beginnings.
“My parents came from nowhere but they understand the importance of giving anyone a sound education and promised to do everything within their power to ensure that each of us got an education. Though I grew up in that zinc house, I went to Collage of West Africa. I lived in that zinc house until I was 21 — when I graduated from the university — when I left Monrovia and went to the States,” she said.
“If God can lift me up from that zinc house to where I sit today and call myself the Vice President of Liberia, I think it is important I give back and that giving back is through educating girls,” VP Taylor said.
She said the foundation was named “Starfish” because girls are disadvantaged just like the starfish in the sea that get washed on the seashore and, if the ocean waves do not draw them back in the water within few hours, they die from being dried up.
She said the Starfish Foundation was founded twenty years ago when she served as First Lady of Liberia and visited the 15 sub-political divisions of the country, where she discovered that many girls and women experienced a very difficult time during the nation’s 14 years civil crisis.
“That was how I began to provide opportunities for them through education, healthcare, providing humanitarian services. When I became senator, I continued that work. However, as Vice President, I realized that the Bong and Montserrado Counties are not sufficient, so I understand that it is important to spread the Jewel Starfish Foundation in every part of the country,” she said.
Madam Taylor said the Starfish Foundation is now paying tuition for over 1,500 girls across the Liberia for a year in advance.
The Vice President said the foundation is an independent framework that will work outside her office, adding that “as a Vice President, I have some statutory responsibilities in the Senate and other assignments that the President will give me, which may not allow me ensure that girls get needed education.”
“The girls are my heartbeat so I don’t want the vice president position to make me too busy for them. I want them to be on the front burner of the day-day activities, most especially education. I will be a key sponsor and intervene when I can,” she said.
Taylor said “I am hoping, over the next six years, that the number of girls that I have given the opportunity be mentally empowered, educated and save our girls from Sexual and Gender Based Violence.