Since their first visit to Liberia, Africa in 2014, Project-44 founders Ben and Margret Fields have felt called to serve this impoverished country. So compelled to make a difference, they have made the creation of a trade school to serve the people of Liberia a top priority. A parcel of 150 acres has been purchased in Kakata. A wall enclosing the area the school will occupy is in place and a preliminary master plan is complete. The hard work is just beginning. Now the focus is to put people on the ground and move the effort forward.
But why Liberia? Like many countries on the African continent, Liberia is challenged on many fronts. In recent years the country has experienced political and economic gains, but it remains in desperate need of trained human resources. Practical skills such as carpentry, furniture making, and auto repair can equip citizens to be self-sufficient and bring much-needed services to the community. The availability of this type of training is virtually non-existent.
There is no doubt that education is lacking. Most Liberian children have an opportunity to attend school through the 6th grade. Beyond that, there is no guarantee. If a student wishes to pursue college, they often attend university in another country. Once they leave their home in Liberia, there is little incentive to return. As a result, Liberia is left with a population short on education and seriously lacking in practical trade skills. Dr. Chris Hena, one of our partners, struggles to find qualified healthcare workers to assist at the medical clinic she operates. There is clear evidence of the need for training in practical skills and specialized trades.
Despite the hardships the people of Liberia face, they do find hope in their faith in Jesus Christ. Sadly, it is difficult to carry the hope they experience as they worship together on Sundays through the rest of the week when faced with so many challenges. Ben sees the trade school and Project-44’s physical presence in Liberia as a way to promote both education and spiritual formation.