Liberian Youth Organization Honors Adult Writers

Chance For A Better Tomorrow’s E.D. (right) and one of the organization’ s 2021’S World Book honorees. Photo credit- Theophilus K.B.S. Gippley, III

MONROVIA – At 7 am on Friday, April 23, 2021, Lassana Boakai Kanneh, age 30 (in 2021), 1991, in-blue-coat-suit, left the office of the Second Chance Foundation For A Better Tomorrow to personally deliver “Certificate of Honor” to each of selected Liberian Authors the Organization had informed, via letter, three weeks earlier.  His mission was on behalf of the legally operating organization, founded in February 2020, and based in Stephen Allen Tolbert Memorial Housing Estate Community in Gardnerville Township, Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia.

The gesture was part of the Organization’s honor to Liberian Authors on World Book Day (April 23), created by the United Nations Education, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) on the 23rd of April, 1995. UNESCO’s creation of the Book Day was “to mark the birth and death anniversaries of seven renowned authors,” the UN Agency states on its web page.

As stated on its web page, UNESCO’s purpose was promotion of the “enjoyment of Books and reading”. UNESCO’s motto for the World Book and Copyright Day is: “Read…so you won’t feel alone”

 35-member Second Chance Foundation For A Better Tomorrow’s first recipient was Samuel G. Dweh, current president of LAW (LAW), at LAW’s temporary contact office on Benson Street, Monrovia.

“This certificate from the Second Chance Foundation For A Better Tomorrow is in recognition of your valuable contributions to the development of our Country, Liberia, through your writings we had been following in local newspapers, various online media platforms, and on your social media platform over seven years, including the current year,” Mr. Lassana Boakai Kanneh said during presentation of LAW’s president.

The organization honored other LAW members, including those living outside of Liberia. The Diaspora LAW members honored are Mr. K. Moses Nagbe and Madam Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, who are founding members of the Association and both based in the United States of America. Each person’s Certificate was presented through the Association’s temporary contact point on Benson Street, Monrovia. (LAW has been evicted from its long-leased Head Office in Jallah Town, 2nd Street, Sinkor, due to rental problem)

On other LAW members residing outside of Liberia, the Second Chance For A Better Tomorrow’s Executive Director said, “Written works are like sojourners’ footprints, seen by other people long time after the owner of the footprints had left. In this light, the Second Chance For A Better Tomorrow is pleased to present these Certificates through the Office of the Liberia Association of Writers in Liberia. We hope these Certificates will reach those for whom they had been presented today.” 

Some of the other recipients of the youth organization’s book production honor were: Mr. James V. Dwalu, LAW’s first post-war president; Dr. Dwaboyea Evelyn S. Kandakai, former Minister of Education of Liberia; Ms. Mai Azango, journalist (with FrontPage Africa newspaper); and Rev. (Dr.). Roosevelt Zarwulogbo Liberty, Senior Pastor of the Church of the Believers, located in New Matadi Estate, Monrovia.

During an interview with a journalist a day following the World Book Day, the young leader said the main purpose of founding the Second Chance For A Better Tomorrow is to “Inspire, and to rejuvenate hope among downtrodden populace, especially youths in communities, through education, advocacy, recreation and skill empowerment to achieve self-actualization.”

He also said, during the interview, his personal struggles and deprivations of basic needs of life, between childhood and age 26, are major driving force for the founding of the organization. Most of the struggles were in the Village he was born: Bulor Town, Quardu Gboni (Electoral District) of Lofa County, in Northwestern Liberia.

“I’m a part of a pair of two boys, twin, two boys, out of thirteen children. Our mother, Ma-Bendu Kromah, a farmer, single-handedly supported us, after the death of our father—Mr. Boakai Kanneh—when we were still toddlers,” he explained.”

The suffering pushed young Lassana to the capital city, Monrovia, in 2015—one year following the attacks of respiratory disease, Ebola, on Liberia. He had only a High School certificate.

In the City, he couldn’t find job—he didn’t have an academic qualification or a job experienced needed heads of job-offering sites he had visited.

“Sitting home everyday made me lonely each day in my new home and new neighborhood, so I decided spending the day in a library where I would keep company with authors in books I would be reading. I was told about a popular Library, called We-Care Library, on Carey Street, in Central Monrovia. But I didn’t have transportation fare for any public vehicle, so I had to walk, over one hour, from my house to We-Care Library,” the Executive Director of Chance For A Better Tomorrow narrated during the interview with a journalist.

“In the We-Care Library, I prioritized Journalism books in the Library’s Media Section, because I had always dreamed of being a Journalist in the fulture,” now-age 30 Lassana Kanneh added.

What he read in each the Journalism books deepened his passion, and he later enrolled at the Journalism Department of the Islamic Education Foundation (IEFUD) Institute of Liberia, located in the Freeport Community, Bushrod Island, Montserrado County. But he dropped out due to financial constraint.

“I’m now a student in the Mamade Diakaite School of Journalism, situated in Iron Factory, Somalia Drive, Gardnersville Township, Republic of Liberia,” the youth leader said during the interview.

Chance Foundation For A Better Tomorrow’s focus on honoring Authors is based on the Executive Director’s observation of much of the Liberian society’s “marginalization of Writers when recognizing nation-building professionals,” E.D. Lassana Boakai Kanneh disclosed during the interview.

“Everywhere you go today, you hear other Liberian organizations honoring musicians, radio Talk-show host, a newspaper journalist, but you hardly see these persons or organizations giving honor Authors of Books, the main preservers of the nation’s ideas or heritage for generations to come. Talking can’t sustain these ideas or heritage for such a long time,” the youth leader pointed out.

With honor to Liberian Authors, this Liberian youth organization has shown to the Liberian Government how to celebrate the World Book Day organized by UNESCO where Liberia holds a membership, the youth leader insinuated during the interview.

“This is another way to reactivate the National Reading Campaign, established by the Government of Madam Ellen Johnson Sireaf in 2013, and heavily sponsored by the United States Government through the United States Agency for International Development, USAID,” the Chance For A Better Tomorrow’s Executive Director implicitly advised.