The last time we were here, in January/February 2011, there were no Mineke Foundation activities in Dabwe Town. This time around, there is an active and enthousiastic group of young people aged approx. 18 - 30 years who are taking the initiative to bring change to the community they live in. Not only have they organised a clean up campaign in the community (during which they had to deal with people telling them, Don't come into my yard), they are practising a drama to educate people about the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse. Their first performance will be this Saturday. We will attend, pics to follow! In addition, they will hopefully soon be starting their pastry making vocational and small business training. Also, a group of 30 people will soon commence with soap making vocational training. The fragrant bars of laundry soap, made from palm kernel oil, will bear the stamp "Made in Dabwe Town". Sales will start in Dabwe Town and from there, continue towards Monrovia and inland. It will soon be possible to pre-order your bars of soap. Let us know in the comments if you are interested!
We started out on February 15th, 2011, with 2 seriously motivated Liberian women, who, through good times and bad (they were at the point of giving up around May last year because of all the difficulties they faced in the community), kept mobilising and motivating people (especially the youth) to take responsibility for their own lives. Today, in addition to these two women, we have an extremely motivated young man who carries a large part of the responsibility for the work MF is trying to do. We are honored and humbled that these people have carried on working with us.
In 2011, the community told us the school was a priority. However, the first approach that the community chose regarding their participation in the renovation, seriously backfired. Today, the school auditorium is undergoing renovation. In addition, MF hopes to renovate the entire school as well as install solar panels on the roof of the auditorium to provide lighting.
Today, children from age 5 up have to walk long distances and cross heavy traffic to get to their school (outside of the Dabwe Town community). By next year, we hope Damiefa school will reopen its doors to these children, providing them with quality education in a place near to their homes, with a large playground, and without any traffic.
In order to be succesful, these projects need your (financial) support. Have a look at our website and choose one or more projects to support to help change the future of Dabwe Town!
In conclusion, Marieke, Elly and I have been strengthened in our convictions that the MF approach is bearing fruit, humbled by the perseverance shown by our Liberia team and energised by the enthousiasm we see among the Dabwe Town youth. This, THIS, is what we were hoping would happen. And one day, some day in a not too distant future, people will look back and say, this is where it all began, and these are the youth it started with. Look closely at their faces, because these are people who will make a difference in the lives of many.
~ tonia ~