On Wednesday, November 29th, a couple by the names of Benjamin and Mary Davies visited the Boone DMACC campus auditorium to speak about their experiences living in Liberia as part of the LIberian International Year presentation. They were here to speak on behalf of William Tubman, Liberia’s longest serving and most influential president, and to talk about the school the couple had built back home in Liberia.
The couple first came to the United States in the year of 2004. Before living in Iowa, they lived for some time in Florida. Benjamin graduated from DMACC and is now an employee. “I fell in love with Iowa after seeing and playing in the snow for the first time,” he said. “This is a very vibrant, progressing, hardworking community and we love it here.” Benjamin talked about how, “Liberia is built on freedom,” and that, “Basic principles that exist in America also exist in Liberia.” He joked that Liberia only has two seasons (rainy and dry) and talked about things like their major exports and their main foods.
In the year 2015, Mary Davies had observed a problem within their Liberian community: many children were not going to school. She proposed the idea to her husband, Benjamin, and from then on began coming up with ideas on how to structure a school in their neighborhood. After thinking about it and not knowing where to get the funding they needed to build a new school building, Mary had the idea to open the school in their Liberian home. “Start with what you have,” said Benjamin when talking about their decision. It was on September 5th, 2015, the Davies couple opened their doors to an enrollment of over 100 kids. They decided to name their project, “The Kids Foundation Daycare and Elementary School”.
Since they had their school up and running, it was time to tackle the next problem: clean drinking water for the students. In the area that the school was placed, there was no clean water source nearby for students and staff to be able to use. To start the project, Benjamin went to his church and asked for help for building a well. The church held a fundraising dinner and raised $2,000 for the construction of the well. Students and staff now have access to adequate, safe, and clean drinking water. Their next project was to build a wire fence around the school with an iron gate and lock to keep the children safe, and they did so with their own resources. Since 2015, they have been able to build two more bathrooms, an office, and an auditorium to hold events. This year in 2017, they have been able to upgrade their office, purchase desks and chairs, and provide computers for the staff and students. They are currently planning to build a six to eight classroom building in the future. “Women know how to get things done,” said Benjamin when bragging about his wife, Mary. “Everything Mary does is about her school.”
Benjamin mentioned in the presentation that he calls their students “my survivor kids”, because of what they all have been through and what they have accomplished. Because they were so focused on building and updating the school, the teachers they had hired were not getting paid to their standards. “We strive to provide competent teachers, and because we want our kids to have a good education, we recently met the needs of our teachers and started paying them more,” said Benjamin on the subject. “This is non-profit work. We are doing this for our love and our concern for our community.”
The Davies couple moved to the United States and started working jobs to be able to provide and send money to their school in Liberia. Because they can’t do it all on their own, they recently created a GoFundMe page to raise funds to keep their school up and running. “In America, we don’t sleep,” said Benjamin, “Work is our first and foremost priority.” They are encouraging people to donate to their cause to keep their kids in a safe and adequate learning environment. By donating, you are contributing to a cause that has helped many children in the past, and will continue helping as long as the Davies couple is around.
Link to their GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/kids-foundation-daycare-and-school