Tuesday 5 December 2017

image photo liberia children johnette

A University of Northampton student who grew up during the First Liberian Civil War in the early 1990’s has started a project to help children whose lives are still affected by the conflict.

Johnette Brownell, a third year Early Childhood (BA) student, had the lightbulb moment during her Erasmus+ semester at University College Absalon in Denmark.

She started the ‘Love Liberia Project’ to raise money to fill rucksacks with pens, books, toys and toiletries to present to school children during her next visit in June 2018.

Johnette’s ultimate aim is to create a full charity that will work to fund improving the quality and access to education across Liberia and other African countries and, in time, provide teacher training programs and scholarships.

image photo liberia children johnette
Johnette with the some of the Liberian children she has established a charity to help.

The Liberian wars (a second lasted from 1999 to 2003) and subsequent government mismanagement have damaged the country’s infrastructure to the extent that the education system is still badly under-resourced.

Schools lack furniture and basic learning equipment such as stationery, books and computers. Unsurprisingly, few children are in school with many having to abandon their education to work and support their families.

Johnette, who visited Liberia earlier this year, talks about the scale of the situation: “Having lived through the traumatic events of war and seeing my own education suffer, I passionately believe no child should be prevented from getting a good education.

“This project is a completely practical one; by helping Liberian children through school, we ensure the country has a better future.

“We may not be able to help every child, but even if we reach a few children, we have done more for Liberia than we can possibly imagine.”

According to a report published last year, 54% of the population of Liberia lives below the poverty line. This means they survive on less than $US2.00 a day.*

You can donate to Johnette’s campaign online and see her Facebook page for updates.

Find out more about the Early Childhood course at University of Northampton on our website.

Notes to editors

Johnette took the ALECE programme (Aesthetic & Learning in Early Childhood Education) in Denmark.

Her ‘Love Liberia Project’ was supported by students and colleagues at University College Absalon, who helped her with various fundraising activities.

Her semester abroad in Denmark was made possible by the Erasmus+ programme, funded by the European Commission.

* See ‘Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2014’ by LISGIS.

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