Just over a year ago the Westminster delegation to Hope Mission in Bernard Farm, Liberia returned with ideas for new initiatives to build long-term capacity at the school in addition to annual support for Ebola orphans and scholarship students.
Using an $18,300 award this spring by a Presbyterian Women U.S. Thank-Offering grant and a matching $4,000 raised by Westminster donors, Hope Mission has:
Contracted with PCUSA’s West African Initiative of Liberia (WAIOL) to provide instruction and supplies for vocational training programs for students and community members on snail farming and bee-keeping. WAIOL also advises farmers on marketing honey and snails. Fist-sized land snails are a valuable protein source produced for both cash and consumption.
Purchased a powerful generator and freezer. The community lacks public utilities and has few private generators so the new equipment will produce revenue from sale of cold beverages and from the charging of cellphones and other equipment. The new generator will also increase Hope Mission’s ability to light classrooms and common areas.
Later this year grant funds will be used to purchase equipment and supplies and to hire local labor. These activities with further stimulate the Bernard Farm economy and enable more parents to pay school tuition fees.
John Kucij authored the successful grant application for funding from Presbyterian Women and is overseeing the implementation of grant activities and management of grant funds. John is a Schenectady resident who volunteers at Westminster on Liberian Projects. He has 45 years of experience with Liberia and has chaired numerous US-based Liberian activities and organizations.