Changing Girls Story through Scholarship Offers

Sewon Bleede, 35 a mother of two and a high school graduate sits home idly hopes that one day she will have an opportunity to continue her education. Surprisingly for Sewon in 2013 the Laymah Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa selected her as one of the recipients of academic [2013-2014] scholarship.

With smiles, Bleede says: “Since I graduated from high school, I have been sitting home. I sat for years during which time I had my two children. I’m 35 years right now and I just got a scholarship.”

She says the scholarship has given her the opportunity to realize her dream adding that she is currently enrolled at the STAZ College of Technology.

“Well I want to be a computer engineer and I hope to achieve this dream,” Bleede said. According to Bleede her selection for the scholarship was a surprise explaining that she does not know Gbowee prior to getting the scholarship.

“I do not know her (Gbowee) I just got to know her when I got on her scholarship and that’s the wonderful thing about it.” She is not related to any of us here; she’s from Bong County, she’s a Kpelleh woman and I’m from way Grand Kru,” Bleede continues.

Bleede thanked Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa for allowing them [scholarship recipients] to explore their potential. She called on well-meaning Liberians to follow the good example of Madam Gbowee by providing opportunities that improve the livelihood of young people.

Sewon Bleede was among several young ladies announced as recipients of the 2014 scholarship at the Gbowee Peace Foundation 2nd Gala dinner and Fundraiser held at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia.

At the program the Founder and president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee recommitted herself to the fight for providing quality education for girls and the underprivileged.

Gbowee outlined the Children Fund and the president Fellows programs at the Foundation impact on the lives of ordinary Liberians. She said, the Children Fund is intended to give emergency grant to students who are in the middle of their final exam and are thrown out of school.

“We are hoping our children Fund can grow and turn into something different.” A young lady who has been going to the University of Liberia had three semesters to end and school fees at the UL is US$80 and she had been sitting two years because she cannot get US$240 to return to school, she should have been here tonight but she felt sick. She will be the first recipient of that grant to finish her education at the University of Liberia,” Leymah Gbowee

Gbowee: “This evening Sister Barbara met me and mentioned two of her students, senior in nursing final semester cannot find money to pay their fees; Monday morning Sister Barbara you will receive your check for their tuition”.

Since Madam Gbowee won the Nobel peace prize in 2011 jointly along with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and TemakuKamah, she has used that platform to tell Liberians and African stories to the world which is yielding results by the support her foundation receives to help improve particularly the lives of girls by providing quality education for them [girls].

At the Gala Dinner about eight promising young ladies were called up as recipients of the Foundation international scholarship and ex-combatant children were also given local scholarships to pursue their secondary education.

Gbowee narrated her personal experience with ex-combatants while serving as social worker years back. According to Gbowee, amongst the Ex-combatants, children, one of the children has a special place in her [Gbowee] heart.

“1999 I used to work with ex-combatants one of them used to be in a wheelchair both legs amputated Christian Johnson and he had this girlfriend called T-girl. One day T-girl told me that she does not want Senegalese that was how Johnson was called”.

Gbowee said, in a short time Johnson got T-girl impregnated adding that one day a group of combatants went into her office and said that T-girl has given birth.

“They named the baby Fofair, those of you who know the Ivorian says “se- keeFofair” meaning what for you shall see your face,” Gbowee said.

Gbowee said, for years she has thought about Fofair and her mother adding that her team at the Foundation made it possible for the little girl to be a part of the Gala dinner.

“Tonight Fofair is here and as part of the President Fellow I’m going to grant Fofair a scholarship from where she is now until she finishes High School,” Gbowee said.

As part of her effort to improve education, Nobel Laureate LeymahGbowee revealed plans to construct a technical school for girls and the blueprint was presented at the Dinner.

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