Liberia: A new library for R.S. Caufield School
On Tuesday morning at the office in Monrovia, Oxfam’s project officer Abraham Conneh, loaded several cartons of books into an Oxfam car ready to leave for Unification Town, 60 km Southeast of the capital Monrovia. The journey took us to R.S. Caufield Public School, one of the 12 schools that Oxfam is supporting with the establishment of libraries.
The journey to the school, which neighbours the Robert International Airport, the gateway to Liberia, is approximately one hour. The road to unification is a journey through Liberia’s troubled past. But it is also a reminder of the people’s resilience and strong hope for the future. The green vegetation growing as far as the eyes can see is a testimony of a beautiful country, a land of so much hope and potential. An hour after our journey started in Monrovia, we stopped at R.S. Caufield Public School.
This institution was run previously as a private school before it was officially turned over to the government of Liberia in 1972. The school was named after the late Mr. Robert Stanley Caulfield, a former General Manager of an Explosive Production Company. In the height of the civil war in the early 1990s and 2003, the surrounding community in Unification town including R. S. Caulfield School was home to thousands of internally displaced people, some of whom have settled here after the end of the civil war. The school has a teaching staff of 18 and a student population of 900 compared to 749 students last academic year. With the improved facilities, the school is expected to attract more students when the new semester begins.
To support the education needs of the students in the school, the community expressed the need for a library, where their children could get access to various books. They made available a room, while FAWE with support from Oxfam provided typewriters, typing manuals, learning and teaching materials and supplies, furniture, i.e. chairs, tables, shelves, books stands. The Library is now operational though the consignment of books that have started to arrive since the end of the last semester. The community through their town chief are very happy with the support given in the establishment of the typing class and the library. The library is also supporting teachers from neighbouring schools.
Rufus Joemah an elementary teacher at the school, who teaches reading and English to 4th-6 graders says: “In the past, it was not easy to get books. We were obliged to do everything for the students. Now we have a lot of books available. This has really improved our students learning skills. They can do their own research. The lack of books affects the quality of education; now we are very happy because the library complements our work.” Oxfam through its local partners will continue to work with teachers like Rufus to help them develop their skills to better utilize the resources in the library to improve the quality of teaching and learning.