Can we even imagine life where; 80% of the population is under the age of 30, because everyone else died, 14 years of intense civil war has destroyed your country, no running water and the water you do have is contaminated, no toilets, no electricity, barely one meal a day if you are lucky, and little work? Think one person can't make a difference, think again!
In 1997 two men, appalled at the living conditions of children living half way around the world, made a decision to begin to do whatever they could do to improve their lives. Today Serve the Children operates the only free school in Liberia, and recently opened schools in Indonesia and India.
We are proud to sponsor Serve the Children!
Serve the Children is a non-profit, volunteer staffed organization founded in 1997 that exists to provide education and counseling to children and families in need. We give free education and counseling to war-scarred children in the West African nation of Liberia, serving over 500 children with 39 paid staff. In India, we supply disadvantaged children with free housing, enabling them to attend classes in a village with a school. Just recently, we expanded our operations to Indonesia. We operate the Childrens Sanctuary in Jakarta Indonesia serving 160 children with 35 full and part-time staff. If you would like to donate, please click here www.servethechildren.com
This will take you to our home page where you may choose to make a single one-time donation, sponsor a child, children, or a teacher, and even join a missions trip, or donate items. All of your donations, and time are appreciated.
Liberia is a country in western Africa with a poplulation of 3.4 million people. With a life expectancy of 41 years, Liberia has the 5th highest infant mortality rate in the world. Over 80% of the population lives in poverty, 85% of adults are unemployed, 35% suffer chronic malnutrition and 9% are HIV positive. Liberia is slowly rebuilding after nearly constant warfare for over 14 years which claimed the lives of over 250,000 people. Due to this massacre, today 80% of the poplulation is under the age of 30. The United Nations estimates children made up to 70% of the warring armies. This startling fact adds to the urgent need to not only rebuild a nation, but the need to heal a people.
In Liberia, it is common to see children as the head of household attempting to care for the other children in the family.
Serve the Children operates the only free schools in Liberia; one in the capitol Monrovia, Sinkor School, and one in a rural area 25 miles outside the capitol on the Firestone rubber plantation called 15 Gate. Here over 500 children receive the only meal of their day, education, exercise and medical care. Currently there are over 700 children on the waiting list to enroll. Destroyed during the war, the Serve the Children, Mambahn Civil Compound School, which once held the largest student body, and served an area with no other educational options, will one day re-open. The war took the lives of the children and staff. Surviving children still gather their for class, even without a room, supplies or teachers. According to UNICEF, only 54% of Liberian adults can read or write. The children of Liberia thirst for education, and the desire to improve their lives.
One year after the end of the 14 year civil war, with U.N. Peacekeeping Forces in place, volunteers could still feel the anxious presence of the aftermath of violence. Upon their return the following year, these are some of the positive changes they noticed.
"The heat, humidity, and unmistakable aroma of Liberia enveloped us the minute we stepped off the plane. As did a myriad of signs, a sign of progress rather than machine guns, the airport has a new poster welcoming visitors to a Peaceful Liberia. We counted more rooftops than building shells and frequented a working gas station.
The medical team worked long days, seeing almost all of the students and teachers. With the donated supplies and prescriptions purchased in country, they were able to treat many of their health issues. They also began a partnership with UNICEF to immunize the children against yellow fever, tetanus, and measles. Though they couldnt help everyone, they made a HUGE impact!
The education team tested every student in grades 2-9 at Sinkor. The testing shows that students are making progress in a very rough environment. Students in grades 2-4 are above grade level in Math! And every 8th grader can at least read a 3rd grade text. The testing allowed the team to align their workshops with the needs of the schools. They conducted workshops in Math, Phonics, Writing, and questioning strategies.
All of this work was made possible by the recreation team. They entertained the kids with jump ropes, Frisbees, juggling, harmonicas, and tug-of-war. They thought they might have a fair chance with the tug-of-war against the 6 th grade boys. Little did they know that they were facing twenty strong young men (17-21 yr olds). Their only victory came against the kindergarten girls.
We were bid farewell at a school program. The country director, Sackie Kwalalon, was talking about Kofi Annans visit to Liberia. Many visit the people in power, and the locals see no change. But Serve the Children visits kids and teachers, and a world of difference is made. Hes right. The positive changes in Liberia will continue to happen as long as the children are supported in learning and in life.
Many children in Liberia have very few personal possessions. They do not have a toy box, or multiple changes of clothes. Most of them spend their day watching their siblings so their parents can work, or the children are working by selling items on the street, such as water, CD's, phone cards, etc.
Sometimes it's the little things that matter. One of the many "little things" that a group of recent volunteers took to Liberia were kites from the dollar store. They spent a few afternoons flying kites in the spectacular Liberian winds.
One day at lunch, they looked out the window of the school building to see "kites" flying over the beach. The local kids had taken trash from the beach and fashioned discarded plastic bags and VCR tape into working kites. Kids who had seen a kite fly for a few minutes just the day before found a way to create their own, entertaining themselves for hours and learning a new skill.
With a dollar store kite a child's life was changed. Who knows what your donation can accomplish?"
In May 2007, over 30 volunteers packed a 40 ft cargo container full to the brim with: medical supplies, books, clothing, shoes, mattresses, bikes, school supplies, and even a generator! Sinkor school in Monrovia, Liberia for the first time will have electrical power with some to spare to power parts of the city as well!
In India, The Ankur Children's Home, cares for children whose parents may not have the means to visit their children for months at a time. Children often arrive in a state of malnutrition, with skin diseases, lice and worms. The temperatures in India are often 100' and the main mode of transportation is a cart pulled by 2 cows, which cost about a years wages to purchase. Hence, most people make the 1/4 mile treck to the nearest well on foot, due to the extreme heat, the amount of water they can carry is small. Available work in this area is primarily agriculture, and manual labor with average pay being about 60 rupees, $1.50 per day. The average cost for a simple outfit is between 200 and 300 rupees. Many parents await entrance to the school for their children where they receive three meals a day, exercise, medical care, education, personal hygiene, and hope.