When people ask him why he started YesLiberia, one of his responses is “I founded YesLiberia because God and my mother expect me to at least try” …. read his story below.
Education was my only way out of poverty and I sought it like my life depended on it. I lost my father at an early age and shortly after his death the Liberian civil war began. My uneducated mother was left to pick up the pieces of raising children without my father amidst the uncertain times of war. I watched her go hungry so we could eat. I witnessed her work tirelessly so we could have the bare necessities. I noticed how she acted strategically to keep me from becoming a child soldier. I knew how brave she was seeking safety for us miles from where we’d once called home. I knew I could never repay her yet I wanted to live in a way that would make her many sacrifices worth something. Doing so required an education.
We spent a portion of the war in the interior of Liberia. There were no schools there. As days became months and months turned to years, I yearned for the education I was missing. My options were to stay in the interior and not attend school or leave for Monrovia to attend school. We took the latter alternative as my sister, brother-in-law, and I came to Monrovia for school. Attending school required money—something we certainly lacked. The United Methodist Church kindly gave us some money for scholarship. We had to do our part for the rest. I would go back to the interior/village to help my uncle make palm oil then bring the palm oil to Monrovia to sell. But that wasn’t all. My sister would also make donuts for us to sell. She would attend school in the mornings, while I walked along the streets selling the donuts she’d made. After hours of doing this, I would return home to change quickly for school in the afternoon. I look back and remember how simple things—a uniform, books, even pens—were sources of worry. Yet I remember how badly I wanted an education and how hard I worked for it.
My transition to the United States presented an amazing opportunity to become the person I wanted to be. My commitment to and passion for education in war had prepared me well for this feat. I had also been prepared to help others in my past position in ways that others couldn’t. I could relate to underprivileged because I too had been an underprivileged youth in unfortunate circumstances.
Since completing college, I have tutored for Upward Bounds and served other educational organizations. I used my educational background in technology to connect young people to the rest of the world. I also used my education to serve youths at Agora Cyber Charter School and Lincoln University. Most importantly, I have volunteered with numerous organizations that educate and help the underprivileged locally and globally.
YesLiberia allows me to serve those who fearlessly seek an education despite their circumstances. My past position has thoroughly familiarized me with their needs and struggles. As a Christian, through YesLiberia, I can attempt to do right, “seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless.” Is. 1:17 NIV. Would you join me?