November 18, 2003 - Tri-valley Herald: Liberia RPCV Sharon Mosher, helps students make connection with Liberia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Liberia: Peace Corps Liberia : The Peace Corps in Liberia: November 18, 2003 - Tri-valley Herald: Liberia RPCV Sharon Mosher, helps students make connection with Liberia

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-250-225.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.250.225) on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 1:08 pm: Edit Post

Liberia RPCV Sharon Mosher, helps students make connection with Liberia



Liberia RPCV Sharon Mosher, helps students make connection with Liberia

Pleasanton students make connection with Liberia

Elementary school counselor seeks to expand program

By Matt Carter, STAFF WRITER

PLEASANTON -- An elementary school counselor has Pleasanton students exchanging e-mails with children in Liberia and helping provide them school supplies, and wants to turn the project into a community effort.

Sharon Mosher, a counselor at two Pleasanton elementary schools, spent two years in Liberia as a Peace Corps volunteer.

After she finished her Peace Corps tour in 1971, conditions in Liberia deteriorated, culminating in a 14-year-long civil war.

Although many international aid workers fled the country and haven't returned, Mosher has established direct ties with a school in the small village of Johnsonville.

Through a school principal in Liberia who must travel to an Internet cafe to connect to the outside world, Mosher has given students a personal link to the ravaged country.

Now, at a community meeting Wednesday in Pleasanton, Mosher is hoping to expand her "Hands Across the Water" campaign outside of the school district.

"This year what I want to do is take it to the community," Mosher said. "I want more of a village-to-village connection."

She's hoping Wednesday's meeting, which will take place at 7 p.m. in the school district board room, will attract members of church groups, clubs, business leaders, and anyone else interested in getting involved.

For two years, students at Mohr Elementary School have, with community support, sent school supplies and money to Johnsonville School through Friends of Liberia. The group, made up of former Peace Corps volunteers, sponsors a Liberian Education Assistance Project that's aimed at helping 20 schools.

But the project also has benefited Pleasanton students, Mosher said, by giving them a unique perspective on Liberia's history and culture.

A music teacher at Mohr wants to teach children Liberian music, and there are plans to apply for a grant to make African instruments.

Founded in 1822 by freed American slaves, Liberia later became a model for African colonies seeking independence. But the nation has a long history of political strife.

This year, under pressure from the U.S. and African nations, president Charles Taylor fled to Nigeria when fighting engulfed the nation's capital, Monrovia. Although the situation has improved some, there is still looting and lawlessness in the countryside, Mosher said.

At Johnsonville School, principal Ernest Shaw can't leave anything of value in the classrooms because it will be looted, she said. He carries a laptop computer to an Internet cafe to send e-mail messages from his students to children in Pleasanton.

"He's very determined to help his kids get connected and to do computer science," Mosher said.

One goal of Hands Across the Water is to raise $2,000 for a generator for the school, she said.

Mosher hopes to expand the program from Mohr Elementary School to Walnut Grove, where she is also a counselor. Children there plan to make a quilt and auction it off to raise money for Liberia.

A community meeting on the Hands Across the Water project begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the boardroom of the Pleasanton School District, 4665 Bernal Ave. The meeting will include a slide presentation and short talks by local people involved in the project. For more information, contact Sharon Mosher at (925) 462-8332.



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Story Source: Tri-valley Herald

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Liberia; World Wise Schools

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By Rev. Moses W. Wonbenyakeh (209.159.161.211) on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 5:27 am: Edit Post

Thhanks for your efforts in getting Liberian students connected to other students around the world. Johnsonville is just at the outskirts of Monrovia. Lapea, kharnplay, sanniquelle among others need your attention. There are thousands of kids out here that are out of school. The few schools that are in operation run at huge cost that most families cannot afford.

Hoping to hear from you. Remember, we are about 500km away from Monrovia.


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