U.S.-Based Liberian Male “Club” Slices Off Chairs, Desks Problems in Home-Country’s Schools

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MONROVIA — Emotionally pricked by pictures, with written stories, of in-school-uniform Liberian students sitting on floors of their classrooms and using their thighs as ‘desks’, the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania raced down to their ancestral home to reduce these educational problems.

The Club was founded in 2005 in Pennsylvania, one of America’s 50 States.

Some of the Club’s members had lived on refugee camps in African Countries—Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria, etc.—and some had taught in schools in the refugee camp of each host country.

The Club had purchased a total of 400 chairs and 100 desks for schools in three of Liberia’s 15 Counties: Grand Bassa, Margibi, and Montserrado.  

“Educational, economic and social problems with people of Liberian descent, residing in the United States, emotionally moved some Liberian professionals there to form a club that would help on solving these problems,” Mr. Daniel Gayou, the first Chairman of the Club, who had travelled to the U.S. in 2002, explained to this writer hours before the Club’s departure to donate the chairs and desks.

The Club is composed of persons from the various professional areas, and much of its focus is on training and relief supplies, Mr. Gayou, Founder/Executive Director of The Bill Twehway Foundation, added.

The first beneficiary educational institute of the Club’s educational gesture was the Wenneh Town Public School in Kakata, capital of Margibi County.

There were remarks from the current Chairman of the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania and representatives of the Ministry of Education at the turn-over ceremony of the chairs and desks in front of the a ware house of the In God We Trust Carpentry Shop (manufacturer of the chairs and desks), located in the Mandingo Quarter community, Kakata, Margibi County. 

The first connection of the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania with Liberia was during its donation of Coronavirus-related medical supplies, with estimated cost of US$5.000, declared Mr. Josiah E. K. Yaidoo, current Chairman of the Club, based in the U.S., to a group of Journalists during the turn-over ceremony.

“You are aware of many Liberian schools’ students sitting on floors of the classrooms. Such conditions moved the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania to come down on a mission to reduce the problems with donation of 400 desks and 100 chairs,” added Mr. Yaidoo, who travelled first to Ghana (during Liberia’s civil war) in 1990, taught Economics in the Senior High section of Ghana’s refugee camp (1993-1997), and later moved to the United States in 1997.

Mr. Yaidoo said he has a Master’s in Education, and much of his focus is on training.

 Responding to a Journalist’s question on total amount spent on the total gifts (chairs and desks), the Chairman Yaidoo announced US$15,000 for the chairs an

“The Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania has buttressed the Liberian Government’s effort of fully providing the needs of Liberian schools by the Club’s donation of these chairs and desks,” said Mr. Alexander Duopu, Deputy Minister for Instruction of the Ministry of Education.

The Assistant Minister of Planning of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Dominic Kwene, said if each of the other Diaspora Liberian organization emulates the action of the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania, the huge problem of students sitting on the floor or using their thigh as desk will be eradicated. “Even if each of the other Liberian organization gives fifteen, twenty, fifty desks and chairs,” he added.    

“The gesture of the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania to Margibi County’s schools today has gone down in the history of Liberia’s education system,” Mr. Stephen H. Toe, County Education Officer of the Ministry of Education for Margibi County, declared.

Some of the male community members assisted with loading the gifts into white Ministry of Education’s Truck to covey them to the selected schools.

The first beneficiary school was Wenneh Town Public School, constructed with funding from the European Union, in 2015, through Save the Children.

Founding Chairman (retired) of the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania, Mr. Daniel Gayou, introduced the current Chairman for official presentation.

“From our investigation, this school is one of the disadvantaged educational institutions in Liberia, in terms of lack of chairs and desks,” current Chairman, Mr. Yaidoo, said to officials of the host-schools, after the hired workers, assisted by some of the school’s students, had offloaded the things from the MOE’s Truck.

The collective cry of the students and officials of the Wenneh Town Public School has ended with the donation of the chairs and desks from the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania, said the Acting District Education Officer (DEO) of Margibi County, Mr. Andrew Holder, representing the Ministry of Education. “The major challenge now is to maintain these chairs and desks.”

“Our students sitting on the floor had been an embarrassment for us as administrators of the School,” admitted the Principal of the Wenneh Town Public School, Madam Helena C. Browne. “This embarrassment has ended with these chairs and desks being presented by the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania.”

The Chairman of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of the Wenneh Town Public School, Mr. G. Varnie Sirleaf, remarked: “Anytime I visit the school and see the students sitting on the floor, I cry. But this has ended with these chairs and desks from the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania.”

Student Princess Fare, of the 3rd grade class, joked to her colleagues (during offloading of the chairs and desks from the MOE’s Truck) that the donated desks will facilitate academic malpractice—cheating during class test—by many of the students who had not studied their school notes at home. “They will hide their sheets with the answers in the space under each of the desks,” she predicted, calling her colleagues’ attention in the student’s materials storage space below the top of each desk.

The Ministry of Education’s truck conveyed the remaining chairs and desks to the other selected schools.

Back to his Hotel, at the Congo Town Back Road, outside of Monrovia, after the donation tours, the Club’s current Chairman, Mr. Josiah E. K. Yaidoo, officially presented a maroon T-shirt, with logo of the Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania to the Founding Chairman, Daniel Gayou, on behalf of the Club’s membership based in the United States. “This membership T-shirt comes in different colors—red, white, blue, et cetera,” Mr. Yaidoo explained.

“I never imagined that the group founded few years ago will grow into such size in this short period,” Founding Chairman Daniel Gayou said during his acceptance statement.

The Gentlemen’s Club of Pennsylvania plans extending similar gesture to other financially handicapped schools in other Counties, if the funding is available.

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