Only 20% of Liberian workers receive a regular salary, and youth unemployment is high. The Liberia Renaissance Education Complex (LREC), a project of The DEAR Foundation, is addressing the lack of opportunities by providing technical and vocational training to Liberian youth. Courses are offered for trainee electricians, plumbers, mechanics and masons, alongside a full academic curriculum to prepare them with general business and life skills.
Many students in Liberia never reach this level though, with one fifth of children under 14 out of school. Our project is supporting children’s education right from the beginning, with early childhood education, school meals to combat malnutrition, and on-site medical care for all students to ensure they are best placed to succeed.
Located in Duazon, a rural but rapidly urbanising community approximately 20 kilometres from the capital city, Monrovia, the school has been operating since 2008. We support the education of more than 340 students every year, from nursery through to secondary school completion, and provide employment and a steady income to more than 45 staff and their families.
Our project is also challenging the odds stacked against girls’ education in Liberia. Even though the latest study of school enrolment across the country found less than 43% of secondary students were female, at LREC they currently comprise a hefty 60%. We’re not just getting more girls in the door, we’re making sure they go all the way, with females comprising 68% of the 2021 senior class. Our school is providing a safe space for girls by implementing robust child protection policies, encouraging local leaders in their stand against FGM, ensuring access to appropriate sanitation and reproductive health care, and providing strong female staff role models.