education

Meet Our Graduates

We are so proud to announce 21 high school students will be graduating from our program in August and October. Their hard work and your support has made this milestone possible and we are grateful for both.

We want to highlight the stories of a few of our graduates so you could see first hand the amazing impact you are having in Liberia. Please enjoy the story of Willamena, Joseph and Emmanuel.

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Willamena’s Story

“Before entering the program at Liberia Mission, I was living with my mother, three brothers, and three sisters in a small village named Whiteplain.  My mother never completed her education, so we grew up very poor as she struggled to provide for us financially by doing various jobs in the bush, such as working on a farm or cutting down small trees for coal.  I can remember there were many holes in our roof during the rainy season.  

Most of the girls in my village already have children; and although I look forward to having a big family one day, I am grateful for the opportunity to focus on the future I am striving to create for myself.
— Willamena

I have been at Liberia Mission since 2008.  I began in 3rd grade. St. Anthony’s really built a good foundation for me and helped me focus on my lessons.  I was going to a small public school back in my village, but I wasn’t able to learn much there. The mission also built up my faith, and now I’m more dedicated than ever to worshiping God.  Most of the girls in my village already have children; and although I look forward to having a big family one day, I am grateful for the opportunity to focus on the future I am striving to create for myself.

I look forward to continuing my studies in the field of agriculture at the University of Liberia.  One day I would love to have my own farm with many employees. I want to help increase development in the agricultural sector in order to reduce poverty in Liberia.”

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Joseph’s Story

“Before coming to Liberia Mission, I was not in school.  I was helping my parents work on our small farm in a village near Gbarnga.  I would also fish and set traps in the bush for animals so that we could have some meat to eat.  One day representatives from Liberia Mission came to our village looking for potential candidates for the program.  My father was friends with our town chief, who recommended that I go to Liberia Mission.

Liberia Mission took me from a place where I had no hope for education and gave me the opportunity to develop my passion for agriculture. 
— Joseph

Liberia Mission took me from a place where I had no hope for education and gave me the opportunity to develop my passion for agriculture.  I have had many opportunities to gain experience by working on the mission’s large farm. We also have cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and donkeys.  I have discovered that I have a real passion for animals. Liberia Mission has also greatly increased the quality of my faith in God. Back at home I didn’t go to church, but now I look forward to it every week.  I even serve Mass as an altar server.

I want to study agriculture at the University of Liberia; because I have discovered a true passion for animals, I would like to focus on animal science and eventually become a veterinarian.  I hope to one day have a family and be able to give back to Liberia Mission.”

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Emmanuel’s Story

“When I was young, I used to go to a public school in Weala, a small village.  I had six brothers and one sister. My father used to work for SRC (Salala Rubber Company), and things were OK.  However, he became ill and was taken to a country doctor in the bush. He couldn’t go to work anymore, and I dropped out of school to work on my family’s small farm.  One day a group came from Liberia Mission, and our town chief, who I used to do small jobs for, told my father that I should enter the program.

I am fortunate to have had this opportunity for a good education and real-life work experience because none of my brothers or sisters have ever received this kind of possibility. 
— Emmanuel

I am fortunate to have had this opportunity for a good education and real-life work experience because none of my brothers or sisters have ever received this kind of possibility.  I didn’t go to church back at home, but Liberia Mission helped me to understand and appreciate my faith more.

I want to study agriculture at the University of Liberia.  One day I would like to have my own farm with crops and animals, like the mission.  Then I could come back to the mission and give back in various ways, either by giving donations or teaching work.”


It is your support that has made our students like Willamena, Joseph and Emmanuel have the financial support they needed to stay in school. Thank you for helping empower them with a high school diploma!

Why Education Matters

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"If the children are deprived from education, then they are bound to remain poor for the whole of their life." -Kailash Satyarthi

In developing countries like Liberia, the challenges facing growth and well being are daunting. For our community, need always seems to outpace resources and the crippling effects of Ebola continue to impact the country across multiple sectors. 

In light of so many areas of need, why have we focused on providing holistic education over the past 15 years? Because education is critical for national development and stability. It is the foundation for any society and the rebuilding efforts following Liberia's civil war and the Ebola outbreak rest in part on the ability of the Liberian people to strengthen its educational infrastructure.

Nelson Mandela once famously said that, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Here are reasons why:

  • Each year of education reduces the risk of conflict by 20%. Source
  • Increased access to education decreases the risk for child labor. Source
  • One year of additional schooling increases a person's potential income by 10%. Source
  • A child is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5 if their mother can read. Source
  • "If all mothers completed primary education, maternal deaths would be reduced by two-thirds." Source

Despite the potential transforming nature of education, many countries, including Liberia, struggle to keep their children in school. For example, in Liberia: 

  • 82% of the poorest students ages 6-11 do not attend school. Source
  • Less than 50% of the total population can read and write. Source
  • 16.6% of children ages 5-14 in Liberia are laborers instead of students. (Cost barriers to education increase a child's risk of becoming one of these laborers.) Source

While Liberia's Ministry of Education continues to expand the education system nationwide, we work on a grassroots level to provide access to education for over 500 youth.

As we approach our 15th birthday, we continue to welcome in more students, all receiving tuition subsidies and scholarships. We look forward to continue providing support and access to rich education for our students for years to come, and invite you to be partners with us as we stand up for a child's right to stay in school. 

-Elena Bettis, Franciscan Works' Director of Operations & Communications

Donate to support our students' education here.