Liberia is a small country on the coast of West Africa. It was founded by freed African Americans in the 1800s. Liberia bears a flag that closely resembles the American flag: alternating red and white stripes and a single star squared away in the top right-hand corner. Since its conception, Liberia experienced many difficult years of civil war and civil unrest that has lasting effects on every system, especially the education system.
Today, Liberia has much difficulty educating and employing its very young population (60% of the population being under 24 years of age). Youth unemployment rates throughout the years continue to rise, and literacy rates remain amongst the lowest in the world, with Liberia ranking 6th from the bottom of all countries in the world! Children throughout the country are either attending school for a shortened school day schedule and not learning, or they are not going to school at all. This is a huge problem since Liberia’s population is amongst the youngest in the world, and this small country has seen some of the worst human rights issues the world has ever witnessed.
UPLIFT is an integral part of the solution! Our organization was founded in 2014 after a Smith College-funded research trip to Liberia to uncover the modern-day Liberian education system's issue and, most importantly, begin to construct a feasible solution. UPLIFT provides human advancement services in all life facets. We are rooted in Liberia, West Africa, and our second home, Philadelphia, PA, USA, and as of 2020, Mali, West Africa. In Liberia, UPLIFT has established 7 reading rooms in Duazon neighborhood schools serving k-12 students. For most of these students, UPLIFT provided their first experience with a written text.
1) Reading Rooms
Our goal is to have a reading room in every Liberian school! Students will become empowered to think beyond their reality and create the development and innovation the world needs! We believe books open the gateway of the mind to the outside world.
2) Hungry No More
At UPLIFT, we believe that to be UPLIFTed, a community must provide its own sustenance. Working with local growers and the community, we will establish a sustainable environment that is self-sufficient and produces enough food to profit.
3) Resource and Community Center
Resource and Community Center, including programs – reading and math literacy, financial literacy, physical and mental health and wellness, global and local community engagement, and professional capacity building. Our programs were designed to create a thriving environment that promotes healthy lifestyles, happiness, and dignity.
4) R3: Rethink, Recycle: Rebuild
Pollution and mismanagement of recyclable waste are causing the suffering of our planet and all that it contains. Rethink, Recycle: Rebuild has a comprehensive model that addresses the plastic and organic waste problem through training people to properly dispose of recyclable and compostable waste and convert the materials into products that literally rebuild the community!
5) UPLIFT Academy
Early childhood education lays the foundation for literacy, math proficiency, imagination, exploration, and so much more! UPLIFT Academy trains the youngest children self-sufficiency with Montessori theology. Intentional early education in a safe and stimulating learning environment is the most important input in a child’s life. Following this philosophy, at UPLIFT Academy we provide hands-on, Montessori-style learning experiences that offer the best to young learners and explorers!