Projects – Saclepea School Library and Electrification Project, Liberia

Saclepea School Library and Electrification Project, Liberia

Pupils reading
Saclepea is in Nimba County, North East Liberia. The school has a student population of around 200. Nimba County is situated on the Guinea border, a region badly affected by the Ebola crisis. In 2014/15 the Ebola virus infected 10,672 people and 5,000 died, leaving many families to care for orphans in the community.

Liberia was in civil war between 1989 and 1996, then again in 1999 and 2003. At least 250,000 people were murdered, 50,000 of them children. Child soldiers were widely used in Nimba County. Many of these former child soldiers are in the Liberian capital Monrovia, and re-integration back into their original communities is slow. Life expectancy in Liberia is 57 years, with 51% of under children under 18 orphaned, and 40% of children under the age of 5 suffering from malnutrition.

Infrastructure was badly damaged during the war years with both roads and access bridges destroyed. The Saclepea School library was abandoned during the war years and since 2006 has remained in a neglected state. Contributing factors such as the conflict, poor social and economic infrastructure and the health status of the local community have led to general reading skills being very poor amongst students, their families and the general community.

The Mandala Trust is delighted to have supported Saclepea school by renovating and re-equipping the library, providing core text books for the students and funding an electrification project for the library and classrooms. It is envisaged that the improved teaching environment will benefit the community for years to come.

To mark World Kindness Day on 13 November 2017, the Mandala Trust raised additional funds for the school to enable its sustainability by setting up a bakery and shop so that the students can eat and socialise on site and buy basic provisions. A small building has been renovated and a traditional oven installed, and two local people have been trained as bakers.

The shop will sell the home-baked bread as well as cooked rice, cold drinks, and eggs, fruit and vegetables produced on the school site. It will also sell stationery, and a range of crafts and solar-powered items, which have been produced by young people in Monrovia from disadvantaged backgrounds who are now going to school or in college.