Officially registered in the United States as a not-for-profit organization with the planned objective of helping to improving Africa’s oldest Republic Liberia educational system and to nurture its youthful population as its future leaders, the Education First was born.
The dreams and aspiration of the foundation of this NGO came to spotlight when in 2008 its Executive Director and Founder, Dr. Blidi Stemn, who has been in the field of education for more than two decades came to Liberia in a bid to mold the minds of the Country’s future leaders.
While in Liberia, Dr. Stemn extensively traveled across the country noticing the overcrowding of Liberian school classrooms with children who are ambitious of sound education sitting on lumber supported by cement blocks as they wrote with their notebooks on their laps. Most of the schools visited by Dr. Stemn were staffed with under qualified and untrained teachers who taught at grade levels they themselves had barely achieved.
In spite of the surmounting problems faced by schools and teachers as a result of the 14 years of civil unrest, Dr. Stemn came across some dedicated teachers with limited to no resources teaching in abandoned buildings and open areas. These teachers were making the best of the limited resources available to them at the time.
At the end of his visit to Liberia, this humanitarian and educator, Dr. Stemn established what is now called ‘Education First Academy’ in 2012 to provide quality education to children and youths in under-served communities particularly in southeastern Liberia, specific in Harper, Maryland County.
According to information gathered, in September 2012, Education First Academy started with 40 children from the early per-kindergarten to grade 2. Since its establishment, approximately 300 children are receiving quality education and the primary education program has been extended to include grade 3 through 6. Other programs include after-school remedial sessions, technology literacy, summer camps, and extracurricular activities are also offered at this unique educational setting.
Being aware that education is a treasure that can never be taken away, it must also be noted that it is one of the soundest predictors of well-being and economic stability; as Communities can flourish when families have access to quality early childhood education, high-performing schools and enrichment activities for their children, and when adults can get the skills training and continuing education they need to land and advance in living wage jobs.
Unfortunately, education continues to be the victim in post war Liberia with most of the better facilities found mainly in the capital Monrovia and its environs. According to recent report, approximately 62% of the children in Liberia are not enrolled in any form of primary education program. That’s why promoting educational opportunity is at the foundation of our work in under-served communities in Liberia.
In order to do more for the children of Liberia, Education First, Inc. is soliciting funding to construct its own facility to house Education First Academy in Harper, Liberia. The enrollment at our current facility, which is privately owned, has increased its enrollment from 40 students in 2012 to 300 in 2016.
This $300,000 (United States Dollars) facility when completed will enable the founders to better provide quality education to approximately 500 students from pee-kindergarten through secondary school. Specifically, the facility will have an early childhood center, a primary school and a secondary school.
In addition, the facility will have administrative offices, school health and wellness center, a multimedia center, library, science and technology lab, multipurpose building for indoor activities, and a cafeteria for the school feeding program. The school will also provide community-based programs for adults, particularly women, outside of regular school hours.
The founders of Education First believe and are of the conviction that there are many people who could immensely wish to contribute to the cause of the future leaders in order for a safe and reliable conduit will be provided for people who want to help Liberia’s children from under-served and rural communities aspire to a brighter future, through access to a good education.
For the betterment and in the interest of the children of Liberia, the founders of Education First have vowed to guarantee donors and supporters who are of the desirous to contribute to the cause that every penny donated to this NGO will go towards the construction of this Education Complex.