KEEP Dedicates 24th Reading Room at Goba Town Public School
Todee District, Montserado – The Kids Education Empowerment Program’s (KEEP) quest to provide reading rooms for Liberian students in disadvantaged communities reached another milestone when the organization dedicated a reading room at the Goba Town Public School in Todee District, Montserrado County.
The reading room, the 24th constructed by KEEP since its establishment, was made possible through the support of OXFAM, the British aid agency.
At a colorful event marking its official dedication on Friday, the Executive Director of KEEP, Brenda Brewer Moore, called on the school and the community to take ownership of the facility to ensure that the students make the maximum use of it.
“Today we are dedicating the 24th reading room since we started. It is always an exciting moment for us because it took us a lot to reach this far and we are grateful to our partner [OXFAM] for the support,” she said.
She called on the school to encourage the children to read at all times.
“At times where there is a class schedule for reading the children should make use of the Library guided by the teacher. Some of the science section they should go in the reading room to learn how to read because if a child knows how to read clearly, he/she will not find it difficult to speak or write. They cannot do any subject in school if they can’t read and right well.”
Giving a brief background about how KEEP was formed, she said it was back in 2014 during the heat of the deadly Ebola outbreak when the government shut down all schools, and there were no learning opportunities for children.
She recounted that she firstly began by offering reading tutorials for her children and soon extended it to other children in several communities; and during the process, she and her team discovered a major reading gap – the lack of adequate reading skills and books.
“When you are encouraging children to read and don’t have access to books or other reading materials then they cannot improve their reading skills and that was the reason we created reading rooms for them,” she noted.
Looking back seven years, she said what started as a home study program has transcended into an effective program, through the support of several partners including private citizens, corporations and nongovernmental organizations.
Giving the overview of the project earlier, KEEP’s Moses Buwee put the total cost of the project at US$25,234; and out of this US$6,510 was spent on the refurbishing of the mini-library, which is stacked with 1,721 books and a sitting capacity of 71 persons.
He said KEEP has now set up several reading rooms in nine counties, including Bong, Gbarpolu, Montserrado and Rivercess, among others.
The event was attended by education stakeholders and community leaders, who thanked KEEP and its partners for selecting the Goba Town public School.
“Education is everyone’s business and so it is important to support the children in whatever way possible. And KEEP is doing just that,” said Albert J. Washington, Administrative Assistant of the District Education Officer (DEO) in Todee.
He described KEEP as a great partner of the Liberian government through the Ministry of Education (MOE), adding that KEEP’s role over the years cannot be over emphasized.
Speaking further, he appealed for KEEP to train a librarian to guide the school and the students in the proper management and use of the facility.
He also praised the organization for its immense work over the past three years; adding that it is not only in setting up reading room, but training and empowering women and girls through its village saving program, among others.
At the same time the Principal of the Goba Town Public School, Mr. Taylor M. Kolee Sr., expressed excitement for the level of work done for the school; something he said has shown a clear level of improvement gradually in the educational sector of the Country.
Mr. Kolee said: “From the physical outlook and the materials that I saw in the reading room; and the work of Keep over the years across Liberia, I think this project worth commendation.”
He assured KEEP of the school’s willingness and commitment to do what it takes to protect the reading room.
He added that the project is good opportunity that comes with responsibilities for both the parents and the administration, and as such, they will jealously safeguard the property.
The PTA Chairperson, Johnny M, Teah, called on students and individuals to serve as security, and ensure that the books are used for the intended purpose.
“Any child, community or individual who will take away the books, if we find it in the community, he/she will be dealt with according to the law,” he warned.
Meanwhile, the school’s administration and the community signed a Memorandum of Understanding, committing to protect the facility.
This latest turn over ceremony is the second to be held by KEEP in less than two weeks. It can be recalled on August 23, KEEP, with support from the Gbowee Foundation dedicated a modern reading room at the J. F. Clarke Elementary School in Gbarnga, Bong County.
With support from its partners including corporate entities, nongovernmental organizations and private individuals, KEEP is committed reach out to every community across Liberia with its programs.