YAU Foundation to Impact Liberians Through Humanitarian Aid
"YOU ARE US AND WE ARE YOU"
Monrovia – Thousands of young people in Liberia are expected to benefit humanitarian services from a newly established Foundation “You Are Us” (YAU) Foundation” headed by a Liberian-born Lebanese Linda K. Fawaz.
Report by Edwin G. Genoway, Jr., [email protected]
The Foundation was established in May 2018 with an emphasis on humanitarian works in Liberia. The goal of the foundation is to tackle extreme cases of poverty, hunger, education, lack of agricultural activities and healthcare.
Liberian-born Linda K. Fawaz spent her formative years between Switzerland, United States of America and the United Kingdom. During her childhood years, she attended boarding school at St. George’s School in Montreux, Switzerland where she obtained her high school diploma. She graduated from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, United States of America with a BBA in International Business and Marketing. She further obtained a Masters of Science in Shipping, Trade and Finance from London’s prestigious City University.
Of Liberian and Lebanese origin, Ms. Fawaz has blended her Euro-American education with Middle Eastern and African culture values into a belief system profoundly rooted and guided by her integrity, appreciation of diversity, love for humankind, and industrious work ethic.
Through a variety of professional experiences, from the Public to the Private Sectors, her exceptional interpersonal skills have enabled her to establish a tremendous social and diplomatic network. Ms. Fawaz speaks English, French, and Arabic. She is known for her fantastic public relations skills and her incredible talent for fostering solutions to many of the predicaments faced by the world’s least developed nations.
Making a brief remark at the launch of the YAU Foundation in Sinkor Monrovia, the founder of YAU, Linda K. Fawaz said it is sad for Liberian kids going to school and they do not have the basic tools and necessities for quality education and their well-being.
Providing information on the central thrust of the YAU Foundation, Linda said everyone throughout Liberia and in the diaspora is fully aware of the devastating consequences and levels of deprivation inflicted on Liberia and its people mainly school-going age by the civil war.
“It is in response to these long-range realities as outlined in YAU Foundation prospectus that I am endeavoring to mobilizing support that will contribute toward the alleviation processes leading to the level of empowerment envisaged, essentially it is most gratifying to note that we have a common vision because “YOU ARE US AND WE ARE YOU,” she noted.
Of Liberian and Lebanese origin, Ms. Fawaz said YAU Foundation’s first mission is the improvement of the educational system in Liberia.
She noted that the foundation will help school-going children and young people to achieve their goals.
“We will ensure that every child and young adult has the opportunity at education, as well as reducing the high dropout rate,” she noted.
She said her foundation faces a Goliath of humanitarian issues throughout the country, “From an underperforming educational system to a none existent healthcare system to extreme cases of poverty and hunger, our foundation is committed to facing every issue head-on starting with ensuring the empowerment of the youth of Liberia through improving its educational institutions,” she noted.
Ms. Fawaz mentioned that YAU Foundation does not aim to create a legacy for itself but for Liberia.
Liberia’s educational system is struggling to recover from a prolonged period of civil unrest and most recently the closure of schools due to the Ebola crisis has also contributed to the setback of the educational system.
“We believe that our youth can embrace who they are and define their future, and can change the world,” she said.
On the issue of agriculture, Ms. Fawaz vowed to work with the communities by providing tools, seeds, and training farmers to ensure food self-sufficiency.
In order to improve the healthcare system in Liberia, Ms. Fawaz says YAU Foundation aims at working with health facilities and supporting hospitals across the country by providing basic clinical supplies like cotton, alcohol, gauze, bandaid, etc. YAU Foundation looks forward to organizing health forums in schools and communities where doctors would be available to provide physical examinations to the needy.
“Your greatness is not what you have it’s what you give,” Ms. Fawaz noted. At the YAU Foundation launch, there was an open buffet for the students and the guests. Book bags and matching pencil cases with school supplies in each bag were distributed amongst the 150 students present and gift bags were also given to each and every one of them.
The students chanted joyfully thanking YAU Foundation and District #9 Representative, Hon. Munah E. Pelham-Youngblood.
“It was a pleasure to see the smile on all their faces,” she said.
“Hunger is the world’s biggest health problem – every year it kills more people than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Join us and help put an end to hunger,” she pleaded.
She, however, noted that YAU is working to end poverty and prevent it from depriving families of their dignity, comfort and wealth.
Serving as the Chief launcher for the YAU Foundation, Montserrado County District #9 Representative, Munah E. Pelham-Youngblood, Liberia’s youngest Member of the House of Representatives who chairs the Executive Committee in the House, and an inspiring powerful female leader, encouraged the policy of oneness in the society.
She said she was happy to see a young Liberian woman establishing such a big dream to help the underprivileged people of Liberia. She urged well-meaning Liberians and the international community to embrace Ms. Fawaz’s vision and called on young people of Liberia to put aside politics and contribute to the growth of the society.
“We will support this initiative because it is about giving back to humanity and the society, not many people will share what has been given them with other people,” she noted.
The lawmaker noted that it is her (Hon. Pelham-Youngblood) vision to see the Foundation grow to an international level.
The Chairman & Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Commission, Amb. Bobby Whitfield said the Commission will be a partner to the YAU foundation.
He noted that YAU can be used to disseminate WASH messages to students and community dwellers on washing hands, cleaning the environment, and to increase access to safe water supply and sanitation and improve hygiene practices, thereby contributing to improved human welfare, development and long-term sustainable growth.
“With the establishment of this Foundation, it means that Liberia is heading somewhere, and we will get there in the soonest possible time with the vision of His Excellency our President Dr. George Manneh Weah and his government’s pro-poor policy,” he noted.
YAU founder thanked Hon. Munah E. Pelham-Youngblood for gracing the occasion with her inspirational and dynamic presence. Ms. Fawaz also thanked CEMENCO Liberia for being the first to recognize her cause. She further extended gratitude to everyone including Hue Vision Media & Designs Ltd for the visibility they have given her on the worldwide web; United Commodities Incorporated (UCI), Modern Image Consultancy for branding; Building Material Company (BMC), FAWAZ Building Material, Stop and Shop, SSF, Wolfgang Catering and all the administrators from the various schools and the staff of YAU Foundation.