MONROVIA – A spirit of jubilation and gratitude filled the air on Friday as students, teachers, and parents of the Imam Sajad Elementary and Junior High School in Clara Town, Bushrod Island, gathered to witness the dedication of their newly renovated school building by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
The school, spanning from ABC to 9th Grade, caters to children with limited educational opportunities. With a current enrollment of 200 students, including 120 females and 80 males, the school had faced deplorable conditions, preventing it from opening for the academic year and placing the students’ education in jeopardy.
In August 2023, Muslim Aid Liberia sought financial assistance from the Catholic Relief Services to renovate the school. Responding to the request through its RESCUE project, CRS swiftly intervened, addressing the challenges faced by the school. The main school building, along with essential facilities such as bathrooms and a hand pump, underwent renovation to create a more conducive learning environment. Additionally, the school received armchairs and copybooks. The comprehensive renovation was completed in October, transforming the school into a conducive space for regular attendance.
During the handover ceremony, Abena Amedormey, CRS Country Manager, emphasized the organization’s commitment to addressing human needs irrespective of religious affiliations. She stated, “Although our name is the Catholic Relief Services, we don’t only attend to Catholic needs, Christian needs; we attend to human needs.” Amedormey highlighted that the support provided to the school fell under CRS’ quick impact project, emphasizing the organization’s dedication to contributing to the development of the next generation.
“So, as an organization, we look where the need is and we don’t look at creed, which is something we are very proud of. Catholic Relief Services works to protect, help and transform the lives of people in need without regard to creed, religion, and nationality,” she said.
Expressing gratitude, Karmoh H. Coker, the school’s Principal, acknowledged CRS for its timely intervention, emphasizing that without it, the children would have been deprived of access to education. Musa Barry, PTA Chairman, echoed appreciation for CRS’s assistance and charged the school’s staff to ensure the proper maintenance of the facility.
Barry stated, “CRS has already fixed it, but to maintain the school, it is you.” He urged the school staff to take responsibility for the cleanliness and upkeep of the facility to ensure it serves its intended purpose effectively.
Members of the People Living with Disability, credited for founding the school for children with fewer educational opportunities, were also present. Siaka J. Kamara, representing the group, commended CRS for restoring hope through the renovation work. He emphasized the school’s broader impact, serving not only Clara Town but also students from surrounding communities such as Free Port, Slipway, Vai Town, and West Point.
CRS’ works in Liberia
Seventy-five years ago, CRS was established during World War II by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as a compassionate response of the Catholic Church to the escalating global migrant and refugee crises.
Since its inception, the organization has significantly expanded its relief activities, becoming a prominent force in over 100 countries worldwide. In the Liberia, CRS has maintained a consistent presence since 1990, distinguishing itself as one of the few international organizations steadfastly supporting local communities throughout the civil crises. Demonstrating unwavering commitment, CRS remains dedicated to Liberia and pledges to ensure the sustainability of its interventions. This commitment is achieved through strategic collaborations with the government, fellow international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), and, most crucially, local organizations.