Our story

Welcome To Color Day in Liberia!
2023.03.21 2691

Shalom School managed by Miral Welfare Foundation Liberia 



Shalom School in Liberia just started its new semester and it is filled with children’s laughs.

Recently,  children with disabilities and children without disabilities made good and fun memories as one, while having fun at Color Day together.

Even now, it seems like it's still filled with enthusiasm and passion of children from Color Day(Sports Day)

Let's visit Color Day (Shalom Sports Day), where all children could forget whether they have disabilities or not, and where Shalom School could support children with disabilities as a community. 

  

A Country on the West African Coast

Have you ever heard about Liberia?

Liberia is a country in West Africa on the Atlantic Coast and one of the members of the West African union.

It is also one of the poorest countries in the world and has a low GDP per capita (673 dollars), ranked 170th among 245 countries in World Bank’s recent ranking (2021). Despite having abundant underground resources and a rich natural environment, they need to rely on foreign aid for most of their national finances, due to long dictatorships and civil wars. Though the population of people with disabilities in Liberia is 16% of the total, there are not enough policies for them, which causes low awareness about special education.

Many humanitarian organizations from around the world set up facilities and infrastructure for people with disabilities. However, the reality is that they are mostly located in metropolitan areas and that the rest of the communities don’t have access to them. 

Especially, Lower Margibi community suffers a lot with this problem. 

To solve this problem, Miral Welfare Foundation built Shalom School, which is a special class within Grace School, through Hope Project in 2014. Grace school is a private school located in Lower Malgibi. 


Shalom School managed by Miral Welfare Foundation in Liberia



Small Changes Started with Shalom School

Miral Welfare Foundation has a goal to assure the rights of children with disabilities to get an education and a goal to improve the quality of their education. Thus, Miral Welfare Foundation strives to guarantee that they can get special education and the services they need so that they can enjoy their rights to study and be physically and emotionally healthy.

Therefore, Miral Welfare Foundation has been operating a rehabilitation project in Liberia through Shalom School. It provides various services such as support for tuition and educational materials, support for meals and snacks for children, support for health and medical products, mobility support with the school bus, parental education, and psychological support by visiting and giving counseling. So far, 22 children with disabilities in Lower Malgibi community have gotten these services through Shalom School.



Edison who has a disability and goes to Shalom School(Left) and his father(Right)


Here are two children with disabilities who are currently getting inclusive education in preschool thanks to the support of Miral Welfare Foundation.

Edison is one of them, who gets great scores in his classes, even though he has difficulty in writing due to his disability.


Favor who has a disability and goes to Shalom School(Left) and her mother(Right)


On the other hand, Favor is the other child, who has a hard time maintaining good scores in her class due to dyslexia. But she is a fast learner and thriving in her study.

Since there are no local experts in special education in the community, it is difficult for Shalom School to provide individual educational programs to each child with disabilities.


Shalom School on a Field trip



Thus, Shalom School chose to focus on childcare and their physical and emotional growth. It results in the high attendance and school participation of 16 children who are getting services from Shalom School and parents are very satisfied with it.    

Furthermore, the mobility support service with the school bus, where 13 people can sit, made it easy for children with disabilities to go to school. They got to go on a field trip and this outdoor experience of them helped them to see the world from wider perspectives beyond the school experiences.


Shalom Color Day (Sports Day), Where True Inclusion Happens

In March 2023, Shalom School held a special event, called Color Day, where children can bloom with their passion. It’s a sports day, which happens in dry seasons every year. This is where students with various types of disabilities from Shalom School and students without disabilities from Grace School get together as one. This year, 15 students from Shalom School and 22 students from Grace School (from K-1 preschool class, which has children with average age 6) participated. The teams had three colors: Yellow, Blue, and Green.    


Children are moving boiled eggs in their spoons very carefully 



Usually, they don’t have time for them to get together to have classes or to have fun. However, through this event, they could make a good memory together while they were rooting for their teams and playing games together as the same teams. 

First, they played a game with their favorite food of children, boiled eggs. Though they couldn’t eat them, and it was not easy for them to move the eggs with spoons because the eggs were rolling around, they had the happiest faces as if they had the whole world as they were being so careful not to drop the eggs from their spoons.


Children are eating snacks while they were doing the race



On the other hand, when the children were doing the three-legged races with eating the snacks which were hanging on the threads, they were too focused on eating the snacks to forget to run and win.

The school was filled with cheers and the passion of children during ‘the Three-Player-Soccer’ when children were running here and there so hard as if they were playing in the world cup.



"I'm so happy to watch soccer games together. I want to enjoy myself next time.” 

Shalom school child with disabilities -


“I was really proud to see children being happy. 

It was much better than usual because everyone played the game safely without getting hurt.”

- Shalom school teacher -


Kids are kicking a ball hard


"For a Bright Future for Children with Disabilities, Shalom!"

Even if the sweat falls like rain from their foreheads under the scorching sun in March, and even if the dust and dirt covered them, delicious bowls of rice eaten at the end of Color Day seem to wash everything away from them. 



Children are happy doing a scavenger hunt 



The vision of not leaving anyone behind is coming true step by step, through this Shalom School in this small and rural community in Liberia. 

Miral Liberia will keep striving hard and pressing on to make changes in society where children with and without disabilities can grow healthy and come together. Shalom! (Shalom means Peace in Hebrews)   

 



Written by JinGyu Baek 

Pictures by  Miral Liberia