Diaspora Citizen Undertakes School Construction in Isolated Grand Bassa Community

TUBMANSVILLE TOWNSHIP, Grand Bassa—A Grand Bassa citizen residing in the U.S. has initiated the construction of a primary school in Gbuglain to bring access to education to one of the county’s more isolated parts.

Orlando Flahn told The Bush Chicken in a recent interview that the school project will cost US$70,000, which he will raise along with his friends and partners in the U.S. The goal is to help educate the more than 300 children who cannot attend school in Gbuglain and the surrounding villages.

Flahn, who pastors the New Hope Lutheran Church in the American state of Maryland, said he was already negotiating with the Lutheran Church School System in Liberia to provide qualified teachers to teach in the school upon its completion. As for the sustainable operation and funding of the school, he plans to raise funds from partners in the U.S. to pay teachers’ salaries.

“We are not building this school because of money – this is our way of paying back to the community, so the school will be free of charge,” he said. “There will be nothing like registration fees nor tuition to allow our children to acquire quality education.”

Flahn expects to complete the project this year to allow students to enroll before the 2024-2025 school year.

Rev. Orlando Flahn. Photo: Alexander Musa, Jr.

Growing up in rural Grand Bassa, Flahn recalls how he struggled in the 1960s to acquire an education, walking for hours to attend school at Camphor Mission. He regrets that, after more than 40 years, children in this community were still being subjected to such a way of life.

An elder in the community, Abenego Wesseh, appreciated Flahn’s effort, noting, “Today, some of us are educated because we were opportune to live with people in Buchanan, but the rest of our people who never had the means remained here, and did not acquire any formal education. So, it’s a good thing our brother has started.”

Although the school’s construction has already begun, the Ministry of Education’s district education officer in the area said he did not know about the project. However, he applauded the effort of a private citizen to assist the government in providing education to its citizens.

“Maybe the person who is doing the project wants it to be completed before he can reach out to us,” William Jorkor said, adding that he could not make further comments about the project. However, he noted the lack of schools in the targeted community.

Although Liberia’s Education Ministry has standards for school construction and encourages those building schools to seek advice to ensure standards and uniformity across the country, this rarely happens in practice.

Featured photo by Alexander Musa

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