Salesian Magazine, Summer/Fall 2014, pp 27-28
Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world with 64 percent of its population of 3.5 million people living below the poverty line. Still recovering from the effects of a 14 year civil w
ar that ended in 2003, Liberians struggle with social and economic hardships.
Those living in rural areas make up close to 75 percent of the country’s poor. Orphans, street children and adolescent ex-child soldiers often find themselves on their own facing adult responsibilities with little support and no education.
Salesians have been working in Liberia since starting a vocational institute there in 1979. Since then, Salesians in the country have been developing programs with a focus on providing youth with the education and skills necessary to transform their lives. It has always been a challenge to equip schools with proper furniture and supplies. But thanks to generous donors like you, we were able to help in the education of over 1,000 high-risk children.
Recently, Salesian-run Don Bosco Technical High School and Mary Help of Christians Catholic High School, both located in the capital city of Monrovia, received desks, chairs and other furniture thanks to an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and the Institution Recycling Network (IRN). More than 1000 students at both schools benefited from the new furniture in their classrooms, libraries, laboratories and school offices.
“The children have comfortable tables and chairs to use and students, especially those in the elementary grades, are very happy with the improvement,” says Father Sony Joseph Pottenplackal, rector and principal of Don Bosco Technical High School. “The furniture has contributed greatly to their discipline and learning environment, and has brought a smile to the faces of many of the young students. This has been a great contribution to the school.”
Salesian Missions pays for the pickup of the goods from IRN’s clients and also for all freight and delivery charges to the schools.
Every educational, commercial, and healthcare organization in the U.S. has surplus furniture and equipment they need to get rid of. Tens of thousands of people living in poverty or recovering from natural disasters worldwide are in desperate need of the kinds of surplus goods these very organizations are discarding. IRN works with Salesian Missions to facilitate the distribution of these items into the hands of the people who need it most.
IRN partners with nonprofits who are known to be reputable and effective providers of relief and development assistance, and who are able to use the types of surplus that IRN can provide. The organization has a “wish list” from each of its nonprofit partners of the types and quantities of surplus they can use.
In addition to the donation in Liberia, IRN has sent shipments of furniture and workstations to Salesian sites in Haiti, Guatemala, the Philippines, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Togo as well as other areas around the globe. The happy, thankful faces of the students make all this effort worthwhile.