ELWA Academy (95401)
A blackboard and a piece of chalk. A single copy of an out of date textbook. A 20-page composition book and a pencil. For most teachers and students in Liberia, these few items are all they have for teaching and learning. But after 15 years of civil war, Liberians believe that the education of the next generation is the key to a future of peace, progress and democracy.
ELWA Academy’s purpose is to train the minds and character of children in preparation for life and leadership in the church and society through a Christ-centered educational experience.
The ELWA Academy Story
In 2001, three Christian mothers started a childcare program on the ELWA campus. They wanted to provide a loving, safe, and stimulating environment for little ones whose mothers had to work. With only $300 in donations to buy some furniture, paint and used toys, they began to care for about 20 toddlers, most of them children of ELWA staff and local pastors.
From the beginning, the ELWA Childcare program was more than just daycare—children heard stories, sang songs, and played games. The parents were excited about the development in their children, and they urged the women to start a school. It seemed impossible, as none of them were trained teachers. But when a complete Christian Kindergarten curriculum was donated out of the blue, they felt it was a sign from God.
Meeting with the community revealed what kids faced in many schools: no books, teachers who didn’t show up for class, sexual harassment of young girls, pressure to let classmates copy assignments, and a tedious, rote learning style.
Parents felt like they were paying school fees in vain—their children were not even gaining basic reading and math skills. Those serving in full time Christian ministry could not afford better schools. The childcare staff and ELWA management decided to go forward and open a school that would honor God and prepare their children to be a light for their nation.
In 2003, just months after the civil war ended, the ELWA Academy opened the Kindergarten division. In 2004, grades 1-4 were added. An additional grade is being added each year so that by 2009, the Academy will be a complete preschool, elementary and junior high school, up through 9th grade.
SIM has been privileged to partner with the leaders of ELWA Academy to help make their vision a reality. Funds for renovations, furnishings and equipment have come through this SIM project. SIM missionaries have spent hours training the Academy staff in modern instructional techniques. Hundreds of boxes of books and materials were donated by friends of SIM and shipped by container.
Vision for the Future
The Academy buildings have been neglected for over a decade. Roofing tiles have blown off in storms, rafters are rotting from moisture and termites, floors are cracked and septic tanks overflowing. The bathrooms that served 180 missionary kids in the past are not adequate for the anticipated 500 students. Two classrooms must be added by 2009 to accommodate all the classes up through 9th grade. Finally, a security fence is needed to protect the students and the campus from intruders and vandals.
Looking beyond these basic needs, Rev. Benedict Nagbe, the principal of ELWA Academy, dreams of feeding students a nutritious lunch; offering art, music, home economics and computer classes in the afternoons; and renovating the ELWA gym for school programs and sports. And someday, he'd like to open a high school.
This big dream began from the mustard seed of faith that three mothers planted just a few years ago. This dream BELONGS first to the Liberian leaders of ELWA. And they are ready to make it happen. Can you help them?
Please pray for God's blessing on ELWA Academy's vision to raise the standard of education and instill Christian values in the next generation.
Your financial gift will fund repairs to the weather-worn buildings, improvements to the gym and cafeteria, and furnishing of more classrooms. In addition to your financial gift, gifts in kind to this project are welcomed and greatly appreciated: library books, textbooks, teaching materials, art supplies, school supplies for children. Contact your SIM Office to find out how you can give gifts in kind.
Project Number: 95401 Current Funding Progress:
Note: Financial information is updated quarterly and therefore may not reflect the data reported in a more recent article.