A massive mango tree casts a shade over Siah’s school, offering some respite from the humid Liberian sun.
Every morning, Siah walks the short distance from her bright blue house to her 6th grade classroom eager to learn for the day.
“The Luminos program helped prepare me for the school I’m in now.”
Siah, a Luminos alumna
It was not always like this for Siah. Her parents were unable to afford the school fees to send Siah, the youngest of five children, to government school. Instead, Siah helped her mother sell traditional Liberian meals, like pepper meat soup, around her community.
Three years ago, at the age of 10, Siah finally started school for the first time in a Luminos classroom in Bomi County.
When Luminos began offering our free catch-up education program in Siah’s community, her parents jumped at the chance to send her to school. Siah remembers her time in the Luminos classroom fondly.
“It helped me learn how to pronounce words—how to read and write,” she says. One of her favorite memories was learning to use phonics to break down letter sounds in a word. Luminos’ program was instrumental in helping Siah step forward on the path of learning.
“The Luminos program helped prepare me for the school I’m in now,” Siah says. When Siah started Luminos’ program, she was unable to read the alphabet, do math, or identify letters. By the end of the one-year program, Siah was a top student in her class.
Siah’s parents were struck by her transformation. When Siah’s mother, Kumba, saw the progress her daughter was making with Luminos, she vowed to keep Siah in school. Siah transitioned into 3rd grade at her local government school when she completed the Luminos program. Today, Siah attends 6th grade and continues to help her mother sell hot meals in the afternoon.
“I also like to play kickball with my friends!” Siah adds with enthusiasm.
Using the skills she learned in Luminos’ program, Siah has become a fervent reader and loves stories. Her favorite subject is social studies.
“I like to hear the story of our country,” Siah says. Siah’s passion for stories and her country has grown into a dream of being a journalist. “If I become a journalist, I would help others in the community. If there was something happening in our country, I would announce it to the public.”
Siah and her mother, Kumba, outside their home. Kumba jokes that Siah’s love of talking will make her an excellent journalist.
Through the Luminos program, Siah received a second chance at education and a deeply instilled joy of learning.
“If I become a journalist, I would help others in the community. If there was something happening in our country, I would announce it to the public.”
Siah, a Luminos alumna
Siah standing outside her home, proudly wearing her favorite color: purple.
Photo credit for this story: Mara Chan