Saturday, October 4, 2014

Outreach Education Successful - Focus Shifts to Support

Handwashing Hygiene Project includes monthly monitoring of stations for proper maintenance and frequency of use.  This is the first station checked after being in place for one month and was certified by the LOEP volunteer team for clean, sanitized water and continued regular usage!
LOEP Handwashing Hygiene Project 
Remarkably, LOEP's simple, cost-efficient project is serving thousands of Liberians with Handwashing Hygiene Stations in more than 200 public locations and many family compounds.  In rural Liberia residents have no access to safe, sanitary water. Village markets, clinics, churches, mosques, businesses, and village squares now have LOEP Handwashing Hygiene stations in place and, most importantly, in regular use.  One Handwashing Hygiene Station placed in a village market serves more than 100 families, another is placed in a rural clinic that serves more than 5,000 patients from surrounding communities.   Other stations are placed in businesses and markets where exact numbers of customers are not available but reach well into the hundreds on a daily and weekly basis.

The LOEP Handwashing Hygiene Project has been successful most notably in the following ways:

The numbers of Liberians who have been reached with the message that handwashing hygiene is important to disease prevention has far exceeded all expectations.  The project message was very well-received by Liberians in rural areas and much of that success can be attributed to the messengers –local teachers trusted by Liberians who value educators' work with children, shaping the future of Liberia.

A critical tool for disease prevention – clean, safe water for handwashing – is available to thousands of Liberians who are now also aware of the importance of regular, hygienic handwashing practices.  Having the tools for disease prevention are just as important as having the information and the Handwashing Hygiene Project provided both!

The project has inspired others to join the disease prevention effort against Ebola.  Several smaller organizations in Liberia used the Handwashing Hygiene Project model for programs of their own in other rural areas of Liberia.

Mrs. Rosa Allen, (r) delivers a Handwashing Hygiene Station to a family compound.  Mrs. Allen and her LOEP Volunteer Emergency Response Team of teachers from Lott Carey Mission School is responsible for bringing hundreds of Handwashing Hygiene Stations to rural Liberia - clean, safe water for hand washing and disease prevention.
The LOEP Emergency Response Team is headed by LOEP Volunteer Field Officer, Rosa Allen.  Mrs. Allen is vice-principal at a LOEP partner school.  She served as project manager leading the team in developing the Phased Implementation Plan, logistics such as purchasing and delivery, and provided complete budgets and follow-up reports on each Phase.

LOEP volunteers in Liberia with the financial support of donors are the reason the project was a success.   Here in the U.S., LOEP volunteers stand in awe of our colleagues in Liberia for an amazing job well done under the most difficult of circumstances. Thanks to all, thousands now have clean, safe water for handwashing!!

The LOEP Handwashing Hygiene Project continues as an ongoing education project.  When life begins to return to normal in Liberia and schools are re-opened, LOEP will focus on placing stations in schools!  A $20 donation supports a Handwashing Hygiene Station, hygiene and disease prevention awareness and sanitizer in a Liberian school!

LOEP Emergency Response Team volunteers unload Handwashing Hygiene Station materials and demonstrate how to properly measure, mix and use sanitized water for handwashing to prevent disease in rural Liberia
LOEP Volunteer Support Project
Risk of continued exposure to disease for our LOEP volunteers is a serious concern .  In addition, conditions in Liberia are very difficult with severe food shortages and shortages of medical and personal care supplies.  LOEP is shifting focus from community outreach education to helping our partners through the Ebola health crisis.

LOEP shipments provide water sanitizer for Handwashing Hygiene Stations and some basic necessities for day to day living and self-protection (soap, rice, tylenol, latex gloves and masks) which are all in extremely short supply.  Please consider supporting the Volunteer Support Project with donations of materials listed or cash to ship items to our partners who are doing so much to fight Ebola in rural Liberia!

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Go to Liberia Orphan Education Project for list of items we need for shipping.  Don't forget to "like" us on Facebook!

Life is Different Here

There is much discussion in the media about how the Ebola patient in Dallas could have contracted the disease.  There seems to be skepticism about the frequency of body fluids transmission in the course of normal daily life.  Life is so different in West Africa and there is no comparison with life in the U.S.

Look closely at Nancy Snyderman.  The NBC doc is  on location in Monrovia now.  Her on-location reports show her standing outside in the heat and humidity of West Africa - the TV makeup has dissolved, her hair is hanging in damp hanks and she is visibly sweating! A very different picture from her composed, impeccably dressed and made up appearance from air conditioned TV studios in the U.S.!

SWEAT is a bodily fluid and it drips off the body constantly in the West African environment of high heat and humidity. Sweat combined with Liberian customs involving touching, Liberian living conditions that allow for NO personal space, NO air conditioning either in homes or transport, as many as six people packed into the back seat of a taxi, open air markets the only option for food shopping with no sanitized water for frequent hand washing - all those factors make conditions favorable for transmitting Ebola.

Here in the comfort of N. American we live and work mostly indoors with air conditioning.  We drive our own personal air conditioned cars, shop in controlled environments and even public transport allows for large margins of personal space so there is virtually no physical contact - living in the U.S. simply does not allow for physical contact with others on a regular, day to day basis.

In addition, we also have an ingrained habit of hand washing and/or sanitizing with gels and such, at frequent intervals throughout the course of a normal day - and, most importantly, the water we use is clean.  All are conditions we take for granted and unthinkingly assume are available to everyone everywhere.  None of these conditions exist for most people in West Africa.  There is no comparison between life in West Africa and life in the U.S.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

LOEP speaks about the Handwashing Hygiene Project on Georgia Public Broadcasting

We were pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the LOEP Handwashing Hygiene Project this afternoon with Georgia Public Broadcasting. You can listen to the interview online here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Clean is not the same as Sanitary

The last distribution of Handwashing Hygiene stations included stations placed at two clinics where women were in labor and there was no access to hand washing.   A number of LOEP donors were shocked to see that and want to understand how such a situation could exist.  

It all relates to water quality and accessibility in Africa  -  Liberia in particular.

In Liberia running water is not available in most homes.  There are no water treatment plants or sewage treatment facilities.  Household water for cooking and washing is ground water accessed by pumps and pulled from depths that would not meet health standards in other parts of the world.  Ground water is not drawn from deep wells but is close to the earth’s surface and vulnerable to contaminants.  In Liberia, conventional plumbing is uncommon, latrines are everywhere and open defecation is practiced.  Bottled water is only available to very few who can afford it and everyone else uses what is available.  The World Health Organization estimates that up to 40% of Liberians have no access to safe, clean water protected from outside contamination, particularly fesces.  It is common in Liberia for clinics and hospitals, including those treating Ebola patients, to use water that is accessible - there are no alternatives to contaminated ground water.

The lack of access to safe, clean water is, in and of itself, a health crisis in Africa.  According to WHO statistics, more than 65% of hospital patients in African hospitals are treated for illnesses related to contaminated water.  In this time of Ebola that statistic is chilling considering how unsanitary water is in Liberia.  Washing with ground water can remove dirt or blood, for example, and the skin surface may appear clean.  But water alone does not remove bacteria and viruses and only bleach can remove Ebola virus!  Clean is a woefully insufficient standard when ebola is a threat, especially in a setting with sick patients.  Clean just is not the same as sanitary.  
Health officials are looking closely at Nigeria where the Ebola virus seems to have been successfully contained.  According to Michael Ojo, country representative of global water charity Water Aid, a handwashing campaign was immediately put in place as a direct response to the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria.  Ojo believes the handwashing campaign may have played a major role in Nigeria’s (so far) successful containment Ebola.

There is no data directly linking the ebola outbreak to lack of access to clean water, but there is plenty of data that proves hand washing with soap in clean water is the first line of defense in basic disease prevention. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

No School and Teaching Tools

This time of year these teachers would normally be getting ready for opening day at Lott Carey Mission School.  All the excitement of setting up classrooms, planning new and exciting lessons, anticipation of greeting new and returning students – it is part of the rhythm of school life for teachers everywhere.  This year is different. 

Liberia’s teachers are idled and facing the hardship of no income during a national emergency.  School in Liberia has been suspended indefinitely as part of the government response to Ebola.

Some teachers at Lott Carey Mission School have put aside their own hardships and volunteered for the LOEP Team to plan and carry out LOEP's Handwashing Hygiene Project.  The project, funded by LOEP, is being led on the ground in Liberia by LOEP Volunteer Field Officer, Rosa Allen (at left in photo).  Mrs. Allen is vice principal at Lott Carey Mission School and a longtime LOEP volunteer and Team Leader.  She has developed a highly effective plan for distributing hundreds of LOEP Handwashing Hygiene Stations to rural communities in Liberia and recruited a volunteer corps of teachers from Lott Carey to carry out the project. 

Ebola education efforts by government and health care workers have encountered confusion, fear and suspicion in rural areas where Liberians have little understanding of disease prevention or the deadly virus.  Some believe the epidemic is a government plot, others suspect it is a curse, and others simply do not believe it exists.  Teachers are familiar and trusted community helpers, however - not intimidating to villagers in rural areas.  The teacher team seized on the LOEP project as a teaching tool and built a simple education plan into the project.  

Each Handwashing Hygiene Station is delivered with a lesson on basic hygiene and disease prevention with emphasis on handwashing and Ebola awareness information.  They also do a one month follow-up session to make sure each station is being maintained and that the water is properly sanitized.  LOEP volunteer teachers report remarkable success with the Handwashing Hygiene project as a tool for educating about basic disease prevention and raising Ebola awareness and word has spread.
The project has gained traction and Handwashing Hygiene Stations are in demand.  Mrs. Allen recently returned home from distributing more than a hundred LOEP units to find a delegation of women waiting respectfully at her front gate.  They had traveled considerable distance on foot to ask that a LOEP Handwashing Station be placed in their community. There were no more units left. She had to put their names on a waiting list - the list is growing every day! 

LOEP Handwashing Hygiene Project is supported totally by LOEP donors.  Each unit costs $20 for a station, one month supply of sanitizer, education on disease prevention and one-month follow-up. 

Women from a rural community arrive to ask LOEP Volunteer Field Officer Rosa Allen, to place a LOEP Handwashing Hygiene Station in their village.  No more units are available and they have been wait-listed until more units can be purchased.  Donate NOW!

DONATIONS via PayPal at www.loeproject.org

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Why Handwashing Stations to Combat Ebola?

LOEP is an education-focused organization.  Our work is always aimed at assisting efforts to educate Liberian children and supporting Liberian schools achieve education goals.  Thanks to the Internet, we are always in touch with events in Liberia and stay connected with our partner schools and teachers through social media.  The steadily growing fear and concern about Ebola was clear even from afar over the past few months. LOEP volunteers became particularly concerned about what effect the mounting widespread public fear would have on children.

When the World Health Organization announced the Ebola virus in West Africa had spiraled out of control, LOEP volunteers knew the crisis called for us to respond.  LOEP volunteers studied the public health campaign work of WHO, Red Cross and other major health organizations and recognized our response had to meet the following conditions:
1. simple, effective inexpensive project supportive of health education programs in Liberia
2. Help children overcome fear/helplessness by encouraging proactive, self-care hygiene practice
3. Promote development of lifelong hygienic practices that will last long beyond the current crisis
Every public health disease-prevention program begins with the most basic hygienic practice - HANDWASHING!

Help us promote this basic hygienic practice.  Your $20 donation will purchase a handwashing station and chlorination water treatment for kids in Ebola-stricken Liberia.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Handwashing stations currently being used in Liberia and other Ebola-affected countries are very simply a Covered Bucket with a Spigot.  The buckets are filled with water, chlorination treatment is added, fitted cover is placed on the bucket to keep foreign matter (dirt) out and hands are washed under the attached spigot valve which turns on and off.  

The handwashing stations are manufactured in Africa and shipped to Liberia. The stations are approved and used by WHO and other international health organizations for use in places like Liberia where plumbing is uncommon and untreated water for drinking and washing is accessed from community pumps, rivers and creeks.

Supplies of bleach and chlorination treatment are currently very low in countries where the Ebola virus has struck.  In addition, nearby countries are experiencing some hoarding of their supplies of such products (in fear they will be needed should Ebola break out in their own nation). Arrangements are being made now to ship bleach and chlorination products to Liberia for distribution by groups who work alongside LOEP's partners in service of Liberian children.  The products from the U.S. will arrive in Liberia within the next month.  In the meantime, LOEP partners in Liberia have acquired supplies to begin using the handwashing stations in hopes of mitigating chances of infection and promoting good hygiene practice. 

$20 buys the apparatus you see in the picture plus chlorination water treatment.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hand Washing Stations to Combat Ebola

You can help fight Ebola! Health workers know and advise that frequent hand washing is the first line of defense against infectious disease.  A public health campaign encouraging hand washing in Liberia has begun as part of the health education program to overcome Ebola.  LOEP is supporting that campaign.  For just 20 dollars school children in Liberia  can have access to a hand washing station with treated water to fight disease.

For many of our friends in Liberia, hand washing involves more than turning a handle for clean, running water.  This basic hygienic habit is not necessarily ingrained in children who have to haul all the household water in buckets from a far away pump or river.  LOEP has arranged with our partner schools in Liberia to set up hand washing stations for children. For every 20 dollar donation received, our partner schools can purchase a hand washing station and the chlorine water treatment necessary to combat the Ebola virus (and other illnesses). 

Archel Bernard, Friend of LOEP and Volunteer Field Officer, lives in Liberia and provided this great photo.  It shows a hand washing station set up in a private residential compound where she lives in Monrovia. When they spotted the station,  neighborhood children approached and asked permission of the caretaker to wash their hands. 

The goal of the fundamental LOEP health initiative is to help promote hygienic, disease-fighting hand washing practice for children in their own communities.  

LOEP teachers are standing by in Liberia ready to purchase the hand washing stations and water treatment to distribute to schools in their communities.  Although schools are closed now and will remain so until health officials get a handle on Ebola, LOEP volunteer teachers will arrange for hand washing stations to be placed in community locations easily accessible to children.  When school re-opens, hand washing stations provided by Friends of LOEP will be available in school to encourage and instill the basic hygienic practice beyond the current Ebola crisis. 
LOEP is a small organization with great friends.  We have received a flood of calls and messages of concern about our friends and colleagues in Liberia.  Friends of LOEP are worried about the children and families LOEP serves.  All are asking, "is there anything we can do?".  The answer is yes!  Your 20 dollar donation will purchase a hand washing station for LOEP partner mission and community schools in Brewerville and Paynesville, Liberia. Check out our website for details and hit the Donate button. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ebola Update

The Government of Liberia has seriously ramped up it's response to the Ebola virus. Schools and government offices are closed and additional travel restrictions and testing protocols have been put in place. The very minimal and fragile health care system that exists in Liberia has been totally over-run. Hospitals in Monrovia have had to close due to lack of space, lack of health care workers (some have succumbed to Ebola, others are too frightened to come to work and still others have ill family members at home who need care), and lack of equipment and supplies.

In addition, the Peace Corps, mission groups and major NGOs are evacuating personnel until the virus subsides. Airlines are beginning to adjust flight schedules and service to affected areas and most have instituted health protection measures.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf gave this address on Wednesday, July 30.

Please check the LOEP Facebook page for regular updates and see this space for more detailed information. LOEP is extremely concerned for our colleagues, friends, teachers, students and their families who are in Liberia. Thank you for your continued concern and prayer on their behalf.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Friends of LOEP and all our volunteers are keeping our friends and colleagues in Liberia in our thoughts and prayers.  The latest report on Ebola is of concern.  To get the latest information from the United Nations in Liberia, click on the link below.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Meet Rosa Allen!

Rosa Allen's official title is Vice Principal for Instruction at Lott Carey Mission School but that hardly begins to describe her job or tell her story.  LOEP volunteers always leave Liberia wishing every school everywhere could have Rosa running things!  She is a remarkable, dedicated educator whose story is told below in her own words.

In answer to LOEP's interview questions, Rosa writes:

I grew up in Bong County, Liberia where I was born.  My parents hail from Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia. I lived in Grand Cape Mount County with my grand-aunt from age two to eight and then returned to my parents in Bong.  

I joined the 4-H Club when I was in the fourth grade and attended the G. W. Gibson Elementary School in Sinjeam, Bong County where I attained my elementary education.  In the 4-H Club we had a garden project and a rice project.  We learned how to plant a back yard garden and also learned how to plant swamp rice.

When I was in sixth grade I knew I would become a teacher.  I was always the teacher in group play.

When I entered high school, I started to teach my sibling (my only sister), and other kids who lived with my parents on our farm.  During my study at Cuttington, (Liberian teacher's college), I opened a study class for three families and was paid $15 US Dollars per family.  I was able to use the money to buy extra food and sometimes clothes at college.  It was a very exciting period of my life because the children and their parent love me and looked forward to my visits to teach.  Two families fed me every day.  This was my first real teaching experience.  

Come to think about it, this is the first that I have had the chance to reflect on where I started my journey as a teacher.

I have taught preschool, elementary school and high school  but settled in the junior high school. I taught Language Arts in grades seven through nine for over 10 years. 
I love it when a child achieves/performs.  For example, when a child is given a task and completes the task there is an inner glow that shows on the face and a change that can be recognized in the child.  Any teacher should be able to see the glow in their students.  I love it when I am able to recognize and see the glow.  Then I know that I am a good teacher.

Yes, I miss teaching.  I substitute when teachers are absent or I sometimes teach an English class.

Thank you.  I enjoyed this but never thought about writing it down.

Rosa was one of a select few Liberian educators selected for a special Early Childhood Education study tour to the U.S. in November, 2014.  She founded a school in 2003 and is active in her community.  She is married to an insurance executive and they have four children and three grandchildren. 

Rosa is a professional educator - an asset to the profession and to her nation.

Mrs. Allen in her office at LCMS 

Rosa visits with the LOEP team during her recent trip to the US

Friday, March 7, 2014

LOEP Introduces... Blessing Gbah

The first time I met Blessing Gbah, she seemed a shy and cautious little girl. We were in the schoolyard of her elementary school and there were a lot of children running and playing and generally excited because of the visitors at their school (the LOEP training team). Right away I noticed the beautiful child with velvety skin and an intense gaze. I could tell this little girl was curious, but not willing to approach me to find out what she wanted to know. Her friends had no hesitation, however and they were having a grand time daring each other to touch my clothes, my hands, and my hair, giggling the whole time. After some time playing games of “Duck, Duck, Goose” and “Hot Cassava” in the very hot school yard, Blessing became convinced I was approachable and was just as eager to play with my camera and laugh with me as were her friends.

Blessing and her friends the day that I met them 

Blessing is now ten years old and in the fourth grade at Maretha Preparatory International School in Paynesville. Her favorite subjects are vocabulary and reading, and she has dreams of one day being a journalist when she grows up. When she is not in school, she enjoys playing with her friends and especially jumping rope.

Blessing (center) with some of her friends 

Blessing lives in Paynesville with her mother, father, younger sister, and baby brother.  Blessing’s father is a gifted teacher, one of LOEP’s Trainer of Teachers (ToTs). Her mother is a market vendor. Both parents work extremely hard so that both of their daughters can attend school (baby brother is too young for school now). Their commitment to educating both of their daughters (and son, when he is old enough) is exceptional and to be commended. Blessing and her sister are keenly aware of the sacrifices their family makes for their education and know it is a privilege to go to school.  They work hard to make the most of their opportunity for education.  
A recent picture of Blessing with her family 

Whether she continues on the path to journalism or follows her dreams elsewhere, I know that Blessing will be a great asset to her family, her community, and her country. Keep up the good work Blessing!  There are plenty of folks here in the U.S. who are wishing you great success!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

LOEP Introduces... Captain Dorothy Gray

The LOEP training teams have been so impressed with the faculty at the Lott Carey Mission School over the past 5 years. These teachers are dedicated to the profession and dedicated to their students. They have embraced new teaching methods that LOEP has introduced to them and are working together as a strong team to nurture a community of learners at Lott Carey and throughout the community. Captain Dorothy Gray is one of these teachers. Capt. Gray is the ROTC instructor at Lott Carey, where she works with students in grades 9-11.

Capt. Gray was born in Clay Ashland, a township in the St. Paul River district of Monsterrado County, about 10 miles from Monrovia. A serene and peaceful place,  it is a perfect place to enjoy the natural beauty of Liberia. Capt. Gray spent her early childhood growing up in the Bomi Hills in the north western part of the country, and moved to Monrovia as a teenager. She graduated from Augustus F. Caine High School in Monrovia.

On May 2, 1975, Capt. Gray joined the Liberian army and served for 31 turbulent years. During that time she worked in the training and planning section and also as an IMET officer, processing soldiers travelling to the U.S. for training. She became a First Lieutenant in 1985 and was promoted to Captain in 1998.  Capt. Gray retired from military service in 2006 with a distinguished long service medal. 

Capt. Gray’s late father, R. Vanjah Richards, was a nationally-recognized painter and sculptor in Liberia.  Mr. Richards graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago and returned to Liberia where he taught art at the University of Liberia and served as Mayor of Clay Ashland. His murals and sculptures can be seen in many public places throughout Liberia.

Four years ago, Capt. Gray began education studies at a teacher’s college through the professional development program at Lott Carey Mission School. The professional development program, funded by LOEP, provides scholarship funds for Lott Carey teachers to study for an undergraduate degree in Education and a teaching certificate. It was through these studies that Capt. Gray discovered her own talent for drawing!  

Capt. Gray is a highly respected instructor at Lott Carey and enjoys working with her ROTC students on developing leadership skills, problem solving, drills, and self-discipline. The ROTC students take pride in leading the school-wide flag raising ceremony on the Lott Carey campus every Friday morning under Capt. Gray’s guidance. Capt. Gray is one more example of the many powerful and talented women LOEP has met in Liberia! 

Captain Gray in the Teacher Resource Room at LCMS

The LCMS ROTC class (Capt. Gray in red)

Friday morning flag raising on the campus of LCMS

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

LOEP introduces…Humpheretta Reid

Humpheretta Reid is a leader. This young lady is working hard to pursue her dreams, and one can only imagine where her dreams will take her. Humpheretta is eighteen years old and a senior at Lott Carey Mission School (LCMS). She first started her education journey at Lott Carey as a little girl in the nursery class at the age of four, and since then has become an important part of the student body.

Humpheretta, the youngest of three children, lives with her family in the Brewerville community. She is committed to her studies and a high achiever, but she also maintains an active social life. When she’s not in class or studying in the library on campus, Humpheretta enjoys spending time with her friends, playing sports (particularly basketball and kickball), reading, and singing. Hempheretta is a member of the LCMS Choir and ROTC.

Humpheretta serves as president of the Student Council Association and president of the Elegant Girls Guide of Lott Carey. The Elegant Girls Guide of Lott Carey is a student-initiated club for female students (grades K-12) and teachers. The girls in each grade select a female teacher at the school to serve as their sponsor. The club serves as a platform for education, conversation, advocacy, and empowerment. The club engages in campus improvement projects, as well as serving as a safe place for girls to bring their questions and sometimes, uncomfortably intimate conversation. 

Humpheretta has big plans for her future. After she graduates from LCMS this spring, she plans to pursue collegiate studies in management and law. Oh, the places she will go!

School is a high priority for Liberians and there is great appreciation for the value of education.  Unfortunately, school is not an option for all and it is a real challenge for girls particularly.  Girls are often the ones kept at home to help with chores and take care of siblings.  Limited family financial resources may not be available for multiple children in a family to attend school so boys are given priority. In these instances, it is often young girls who stay home while their brothers go to school. 

According to the Liberian Ministry of Education, 20.1% of girls ages 6-11 were enrolled in primary school in 2013. As girls get older, it becomes even more difficult for them to stay in school. A scant 8.3% of girls ages 12-17 were enrolled in secondary schools in 2013. 

Humpheretta is an exceptional young leader, achieving against the odds.  LOEP honors and appreciates Humpheretta and all of her female classmates in observance of International Women’s Day!

Humpheretta addressing the LCMS student body as Student Council President

Humpheretta and Mrs. Allen, Vice Principal of Instruction, at the Student Council induction ceremony

Humpheretta with her friends on the campus of LCMS

Monday, March 3, 2014

In honor of International Women's Day, we introduce...

March 8 is International Women’s Day and as the world celebrates women and girls we are reminded of the amazing women and girls in Liberia. Their remarkable dedication, tenacity, and leadership has been an inspiration to LOEP volunteers. In honor of International Women's Day, LOEP will feature just a few of those amazing LOEP colleagues.

Over the next few weeks, LOEP co-founder, Emmalee Hackshaw will share the stories of the extraordinary Liberian women who have inspired LOEP volunteers since 2008 when plans for the first teacher training team began. Emmalee travelled to Liberia as a trainer with the first LOEP teacher training team and has returned to Liberia with four teacher training teams since 2009.

Muriel Craigwell
I first met Muriel in early 2009 when LOEP traveled to Liberia to deliver the first training workshop at Lott Carey Mission School (LCMS) in Brewerville. Muriel had just graduated from Lott Carey Mission School a few months earlier and was working as an intern in the school office, shadowing and assisting the administrative and faculty team. She was enrolled in a program at Stella Maris Polytechnic in downtown Monrovia to study education. Muriel lives in Brewerville, an outer suburb of Monrovia, with her mother and brother and is now a senior at the Bishop John Collins Teacher College at Stella Maris Polytechnic where she is completing her academic work in education.

In addition to her full-time studies, Muriel continued her association with Lott Carey where she showed great aptitude for teaching. She has progressed from her internship at Lott Carey to become a full-time teacher. Miss Craigwell teaches 3rd grade at Lott Carey, and is a major asset to the elementary team. With her obvious natural gift for teaching and her quick and thorough grasp of modern instructional techniques and methods, Miss Craigwell was identified by the LOEP training team and Lott Carey administration to serve as a LOEP-trained ToT (Trainer-of-Teachers). With her ToT colleagues, Miss Craigwell leads professional development trainings at Lott Carey and will also be conducting LOEP trainings with her colleagues around the country.

I have had the pleasure of visiting Miss Craigwell's classroom and the pure excitement to learn and eagerness to please in the 30 bright and smiling faces of her students is infectious. The warm and safe classroom environment Miss Craigwell has created is remarkable. Her nurturing instincts and love of learning make her a natural fit for the education profession. She is an expert at her craft.

"My favorite part of teaching is doing fun learning activities with my pupils and the love we share as a big happy family. Am always happy knowing that i am inspiring my students positively in every way." - Miss Craigwell

I know that many of us have memories of that special teacher and loving classroom experience we had at some point in our childhood. For myself, that fond memory is of my second grade teacher, Mrs. Hannah. She was pretty, funny, smart, fun, and I loved everything about her and her class. I have no doubt that in 25 years there will be a contingency of Lott Carey alumni who will remember their time in Miss Craigwell's class and think fondly of the time they spent learning with her.

Muriel Craigwell (center) during her senior year at Lott Carey Mission School

Muriel as an intern at a LOEP training in 2009

Miss Craigwell and other members of the elementary team at Lott Carey planning lessons