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The Niapele Project Team has been fortunate to meet and work with many amazing individuals throughout the world. Here is an opportunity to get to know some of the individuals that our work and your support have touched, and who have touched us in return with their resilience and spirit.
Hello Niapele Community!
Before I get to the update, let me introduce myself. I am Kimberly, a doctoral candidate from the University of Maryland, College Park. I will be volunteering with HapFam for the Fall semester and sending out periodic updates about the growth and challenges we see every day. I have a M.A. in Special Education and I am currently working on my Ph.D in International Education Policy, my focus being in special education and development. It is a joy to finally be in Liberia and working with HapFam!
The Niapele Project School Nutrition Initiative pilot sites are located in the Fuamah and Salala districts of Bong County. As part of our commitment to supporting national and regional development efforts, our initiatives trend with the priorities identified by the government. This document, which outlines a development agenda for Bong County for 2008-2012, also offers a wealth of demographic, economic and historical information which helps contextualize our work.
After three years of hard, dedicated work, individuals and agencies in Liberia are beginning to recognize how HapFam's innovative model is not only benefiting children with special needs, but also their parents and their entire communities!
Currently, HapFam is finalizing a number partnership agreements with both government agencies and international NGOs.
In keeping with our commitment to supporting development goals articulated at the national level, Niapele is keeping its ear to the ground with regards to policy developments in key areas. Two recently released documents shed some light on focus areas in education and social welfare in Liberia.
On March 8, 2012, I had the great pleasure of visiting the Mawah community in Fuamah district. Mawah is one of Niapele's pilot sites for the School Nutrition Initiative (SNI) that began in June 2011. The community has worked incredibly hard at the onset of this initiative to make it successful. Click here to read about their efforts in greater detail.
The 136 children currently attending school in Mawah will no longer face the school day with hunger in their belly. For this, they have their own parents and community to thank. It's a beautiful thing.
It has not been an easy road for the Happy Family Center for Children with Disabilities. With the $300 monthly stipend they receive from Niapele, they are able to carry out programs for the students at the Center and run it to the best of their ability. Securing support from agencies and big NGOs when you're a small, grassroots operation is proving to be quite challenging.
Click to read more and learn about the Center's efforts and challenges on the road to self-sustainability