US-based Liberian NGO to Host Annual Banquet in Texas Where Thousands of Refugees Were Resettled
Change Agent Network (CAN-USA) is poised to host a banquet in the US City of Dallas, Texas, to celebrate their collective impact, and progress, and to source the inspiration necessary to accomplish their goals.
CAN-USA Founder and Executive Director, Eric Willise Wowoh, said specially invited guests, include former US President George W. Bush, the Bishops of the Catholic Diocese of DFW, the International Rescue Committee of Dallas, and Mayor Eric Johnson of the City of Dallas.
These great people and organizations will be recognized, appreciated, and honored for the vital role they played in helping to end Liberia’s civil war and to resettle and offer new life to tens of thousands of Liberian refugees, such as Eric Wowoh himself, to the United States of America.
This year’s banquet, which is held every year, is expected to be held under the theme, “Liberia & Texas Collective Impact for Social Change.”
“We believe that a collaborative event of this kind will provide a great opportunity to shed light on many critical issues facing both Liberia and Texas in the areas of education, social justice, equality, diversity, inclusion, economic opportunities, healthcare, and love for humanity,” Wowoh told this newspaper from his office in Dallas, Texas.
The event will be held from 5:30 P.M. to 9 P.M. on April 15, at the Doubletree by Hilton, located at North Central Expressway, Dallas, Texas.
Dallas and Liberia were linked during the 2015 deadly Ebola crisis. Dallas was the epicenter outside of West Africa. Through the tragedies that took place in Dallas that year, much awareness, support, and prayers significantly helped Liberia rid itself of the deadly virus.
Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States, Jeff Gongoer Dowana, who is also expected to grace the occasion, will express gratitude and appreciation on behalf of Liberians and their government for all the wonderful and life-transforming work being done in Liberia by the citizens of Texas.
Sounds and other activities to spice up the banquet evening will come from Bandan Koro African Dance Group. They will help to educate and inspire the audience through West African Arts & Culture.
MICHAEL JENTZSCH - MASTER OF CEREMONIES (MC)
Michael Jentzsch, a German-Liberian Storyteller, Comedian, and Author, is expected to be the MC. He is recognized as Liberia’s best-known storyteller, bringing the ancient animal stories back to life and teaching the almost extinct art of Liberian storytelling to audiences worldwide. He also gained a reputation as Liberia’s only white comedian, performing his shows in pure Liberian pidgin English, shining a light on the unique Liberian humor.
About CAN & Wowoh
Eric Willise Wowoh is a former Liberian refugee. Since 2015, he has lived as a permanent resident of Dallas, Texas, USA. He was taken to the United States in 2006 on a refugee resettlement program administered by the U.S. Government and the Catholic Diocese of Acadiana, Louisiana.
He arrived knowing no one, without funds or a job, full of fear and confusion. By God’s grace, he was befriended by kind people in Lafayette, Louisiana, and he gradually gained his footing, which led him to help his native Liberia. His awesome work is fueled by the power of prayer. Currently, 23 schools have been established, educating thousands of children in six counties in Liberia. The organization also established the Change Agent Network University (CAN-U) in Fissibu Town, Zorzor District, Lofa County, Northern Liberia.
Throughout CAN’s 20 years of impact, investments have been made in transforming Liberia through education, mentorship, and sustainable development. Over US$3.5 million has been raised in 16 years to support CAN’s inspiring work. Eric has shipped 15 forty-foot containers of assorted supplies to Liberia; shipped four school buses to schools in rural Liberia with additional three buses in the works; he has built 23 schools in six counties in Liberia and has educated over 4,000 underserved children and has so far employed 300 staff nationwide.
Other things that Eric and CAN have been able to achieve so far include the graduation of more than 2000 students; built and donated nine houses for homeless families; on-going construction of the Change Agent network University (CAN-U) in Lofa County, Liberia; completed four guesthouses; provided clean and safe drinking water wells to 10 schools and communities; provided agricultural tools, seeds and village saving loans in a pay-it-forward program to over 110 women in rural Liberia; accompanied over 100 Americans to Liberia on short-term mission and volunteer trips; and expanded their sphere of involvement by establishing collaborative partnerships with other service organizations in countries such as Sierra Leone, Malawi, and Ghana.