The CUNY/IVE Leadership and Entrepreneurship Program supports students with a passion to create change. This year’s winner of the Final Competitive Event, Liat Krawczyk, Hunter College alum and Assistant Director of the Jeneba Project successfully raised $20,000 to build a secondary school in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The St. Joseph Senior Secondary School was unveiled on August 15th, 2009. The Project has been a catalyst for change in Sierra Leone.
The Jeneba Project is a youth-driven organization committed to contributing to the reconstruction of the Mano River Union countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea through targeted educational projects. Their aim is to ameliorate the lives of children in these countries after a decade of civil war by expanding educational opportunities. The projects are distributed across three main areas:
a) Providing scholastic supplies;
b) Providing scholarships for girls;
c) Providing long-lasting educational infrastructure such as libraries and schools.
Two years ago The Jeneba Project in collaboration with the Skidmore International Affairs club embarked on the construction of a library & community room at the St. Joseph Secondary School in Masoila, Sierra Leone. A meeting was held between The Jeneba Project team and the parents and staff of the St. Joseph Secondary School to discuss the outcome of the project and future needs. It was at that meeting that the parents and staff of the school requested the help of The Jeneba Project in building a Senior Secondary School for their children.
The project was inspired and begun by Director Joseph Kaifala who was born in Sierra Leone. Kaifala was burdened by the consequences of civil war that had affected his native home. The war was triggered by several coup d’etats and the fight for “blood diamonds”. Over 60% of the educational infrastructure was destroyed leaving a critical need to rebuild educational facilities. Krawczyk met Kaifala while participating in Humanity in Action fellowship, where they traveled to Europe to research democracies’ minority rights and integration policy. After hearing Kaifala’s story, Krawczyk joined his journey to better the lives of the people in Sierra Leone and document the situation.
Additionally, in conjunction with Anthony Mancilla of Drewstone Productions Krawczyk is completing a documentary that explores post-war obstacles to development and sustainable peace in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the region’s violent past, the transformative power of education, and the ability of individuals to create change. The film is intended as a measure of sustainability for the Jeneba Project. Its intention is to inspire West African youth to take their education seriously, using the protagonist as an exemplar of how education brings social mobility.
The Jeneba Project has launched a new effort to raise money for the construction of a full secondary school in Sierra Leone. They intend to direct all of their resources over the next five years towards the objective of building a formidable high school in Sierra Leone and providing annual scholarships to Sierra Leonean girls. The high school will introduces values of democracy and human rights through interactive community service-learning, thus nurturing future Sierra Leonean leaders.
To find out more about the Jeneba Project and how to contribute please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email Liat directly at email@example.com.
For more information please visit the project at: www.jenebaproject.wordpress.com or the film at: www.retracingjenebadoc.com
The CUNY/IVE Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Program is currently looking for students who want to be agents of change. Please join us for our Kick-Off Event January 29, 2009.