Photo Stories Program

Why is this needed? Photo Stories is a photographic, testimonial project that grants the rest of the world access to the living conditions of the people YESLiberia programs impact. It is a program that serves as a gateway for donors, supporters, volunteers, and staff, to see how their donations and support are making a difference around the world. Through the lens of a camera, our students in Liberia document their homes, schools, and communities to show firsthand the conditions within which YESLiberia’s beneficiaries live. The “unedited” photo-documentaries are presented in the USA to our donors, supporters, staff, volunteers, well-wishers, beneficiaries.

In 2013, our first Photo Stories event was hosted at the University of Delaware. Faculty and Staff of the university, as well as students and community residents attended the event and supported our programs. We’ve also presented our Photo Stories project on a smaller scale to student organizations at several universities.

Why should you help? Your contributions to Photo Stories allow YESLiberia to showcase their legitimacy while telling beneficiaries’ stories from a graphical stance. We urge you to support this program because the children we serve can better tell their own stories than we can. Please help us help them do this through images and videos by making a small donation right now to this program.

Basic Hygiene (Tooth and Hand Cleaning)

Why is this needed? For many of us in the western world, brushing our teeth 2x daily and a visit to the dentist 2x a year is a normal routine. Similarly, washing hands after using the restroom is instantaneous as basins are erected in every restroom we visit. Now pause for a minute and think about the people of Liberia; a third-world country still in a recovery phase from 14 years of civil unrest. How many of those people do you think have access to dental care? The answer to this question would be less than 1%. How many public restrooms come with inbuilt basins? There are not that many. In some households people have had to share a single toothbrush while some have never even used a toothbrush. Meanwhile some have had the same tooth brush for more than five years when realistically a toothbrush should be replaced every three months or after recovering from an illness. During our staff visit to Liberia in 2012, we found out that the capital, Monrovia, had only two dental facilities as late as 2012. If the capital has only two facilities, what are the odds that the rest of the country will have any? For a country of 4.19 million people and a life expectancy of 56.74 years, two dental facilities are inadequate, to say the least.

Why should you help? With studies showing the link between poor oral health and systemic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, preterm births and low-birth weight babies, it is imperative to help people with the necessary tool and knowledge to prevent oral diseases and diseases caused by improper hand sanitation. Doing something as simple as providing toothbrushes and toothpaste to people will help prevent common diseases, and improve life expectancy.

Senior Citizens’ Birthday

Why is this needed? On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, many people have never celebrated a birthday because they don’t know when they were born and how old they are. They live their lives day to day without measuring the years as they passed, never taking time to commemorate milestones or gathering together to observe such special occasions. We wanted to change that. We believe everyone should celebrate at least one birthday; don’t you agree?

Accomplishments: YESLiberia is the only organization in Liberia with such a program. YESLiberia travels into villages, finds seniors who have not celebrated their birthdays and who don’t know what day they were born. The organization gives them “adoptive” birthdays with a party they’ll never forget. First, YESLiberia starts off by buying clothes in which they’ll celebrate the day and then transports them to an event hall to honor them as anyone would on his or her special day. YESLiberia then treats the celebrants, and their friends, to a meal, giving them a chance to feel as special as everyone should. The most important value of this event is engaging experience our students receive from the storytelling of these celebrants: the grandmothers and grandfathers they may have never met.

Why should you help? It might not seem like a big deal to you, but to someone who has never experienced a birthday party dedicated to them, it means the world! Think of all the birthdays you’ve enjoyed and how you felt and you can easily feel the joy that others are missing. This program, through YESLiberia, will make it possible for hundreds of people to embrace the special feelings that many of us here enjoy every year. The cost to celebrate the birthdays of 50 individuals is only $2,500. You can help us do this each year. Please call our staff to share your ideas on how to you want to help or volunteer for this program.

Gbagba- Book Sponsorship

Why is this needed? Gbagba, meaning ‘trickery’ in a local Liberian language, is one of Robtel Neajai Pailey’s latest creative projects. It is a book published by One Moore Book, a Liberian-owned company that publishes children’s books for countries with low literacy rates and underrepresented cultures in the mainstream children’s book industry. Gbagba begins a national conversation with children about integrity and accountability: to self, community and nation. It teaches children to be societal assets and highlights the choices that build the foundation of corruption through the eyes of its 8-year-old twin protagonists.

Accomplishments: YESLiberia partnered with Ms. Robtel Neajai Pailey and One Moore Book because their vision and passion for Liberia and Africa aligns with the core values of our organization. We have supplied the first supplies of books and intend to make sure this book is available in several elementary schools across Liberia.

Why should you help? Many donors are overwhelmed with organizations tackling similar issues around the world. They are looking for something new that targets the systemic causes of poverty, corruption, inequality and so on. If you are in the same boat as these unique donors, then this is the program for you as Gbagba gives YESLiberia the added resource to tackle, from another angle, the issues – corruption being one of them – plaguing deprived communities.

Ultrasound Machine

Why is this needed? A kick, a flutter, a wave of the hand, meet the eager excitement of expecting parents at the ultrasound appointment. Will the baby be a boy, or a girl? Will the daughter grow up to be the president of a country? Will the son redefine what it means to be a caring male? What is the approximate due date? These are questions many families ask in western countries. But the anticipation also has, more likely than not, grave possibilities for others – determining whether the fetus is alive, how many fetuses are in the womb, are stillbirths more likely, or do we wait to read about the mothers having more miscarriages or losing their lives while we watch? Without an ultrasound, parents have almost no way of knowing that the family they want to start will be an actuality, will yield sorrows, or what concerns they should foresee. Also, an early determination of what the child’s sex is helps parents who are on tight financial budgets plan necessary purchases in advance.

Accomplishments: YESLiberia has partnered with the Duport Road Health Center to purchase ultrasound machines for women-focused facilities. The collaboration will focus on providing the necessary staff training to administer FREE mobile ultrasound services and prenatal classes to women, especially to those living in the rural parts of the country.

Why should you help? In 2013, YESLiberia hosted and surveyed focus groups in Liberia. About 22 pregnant women and one nursing manger participated in the focus group session held at the Deport Road Health Center in Monrovia, Liberia. We learned that 40% of women are more likely to die during childbirth in Liberia, as compared to their American counterparts. Part of the reason is that pending complications to the pregnancy were not detected: something a simple Ultrasound testing would have pinpointed. Furthermore, the entire country, as of March 2014, has only 19 facilities with Ultrasound machines; that’s one machine for every 65,000 women. The capital city, Monrovia has ONLY 5 facilities with ultrasound machines to serve its 2 million residents. These facts were some of the factors for launching and needing help for the Ultrasound program.

Ebola (Killer Virus) Awareness

Why is this needed? Lack of healthcare, education, and funding played a huge part in the number of fatalities that occurred during the peak of the Ebola crisis. Liberia doesn’t have the technological advances and staff other developed countries have; funding is another problem. Although there were many volunteers in Liberia and the surrounding areas helping to fight the virus, YESLiberia believes in the age old slogan, “prevention is better than cure”, and knows that a virus of this size is a threat to health everywhere in the world. Taking a proactive stance and creating awareness on killer viruses of this nature is very important, especially for a developing country with mundane medical infrastructures.

Accomplishments: During the Ebola crisis, YESLiberia was very active in the campaign against the virus partnering with other organizations to champion awareness and send supplies to struggling communities. In our first week, we were able to reach more than 25,000 people on social media sites. The founder, Z.J. Jallah, was given airtime by CBS News Channel 3 in Philadelphia, PA to understand the issues that would-be victims faced in the midst of the epidemic and what YESLiberia was doing to curtail the damages.

Why should you help? Imagine your community being turned upside down with everyone around you contracting a deadly virus. Consider also that the only certified medical practitioners are leaving in droves with your only hope being hope itself. Now, add the lack of medical assistance and funding. What you get is an absolute nightmare no human should be experiencing. Though Liberia is now considered “Ebola-Free,” the long-term challenges to support survivors are critical needs we must respond to. That is why YESLiberia is soliciting your help for Ebola survivors in Liberia who may have lost their entire families or parents.