By: Elton W. Tiah
Grand Bassa: Kpue Town, a scanty village along the Buchanan Compound #3 road will once more see its inhabitants smile with the dedication of a modern elementary school.
The first structure in the title image above has for more than two decades hosted the only education facility in the town since the end of the war.
Dug with mud, roof upheld by sticks, students suffered the impact of the rainy season each year and have cried for help.
Interestingly, this is a town that reportedly saw one of the worse massacres in Grand Bassa County during the 1990 civil war.
AFL soldiers in the Samuel K Doe administration allegedly moved into the town in the late 1990 and killed men and women on suspicion that they were shielding another soldier who had betrayed them, that’s according to accounts by elders and survivors.
Graves for the victims can be seen on the outskirts of the village which many people in the local Bassa setting consider a town.
Since the war ended, the community has remained in a state of development. This forced inhabitants led by one Richard James to mobilize local resources and build a structure to educate the youth.
With no bathrooms, and a rough floor, the old structure, students say, has been so uncomfortable, loud, or full of distractions – making them find it far more difficult to absorb information and stay engaged in classes.
But due to its proximity to the railway used to transport ore and logistics between Buchanan and Yekepa, the town has benefited from ArcelorMittal’s 20% allotment to directly affected communities.
Dozens of primary school students in Kpue Town are expected to happily bid farewell to their old school building which has visibly outlived its usefulness.
This new investment by AML as part of its social responsibilities stands out to ensure students are motivated to be effective, punctual to school, partake in curricular activities and behave well, in an underprivileged rural community.
The new ArcelorMittal-funded learning environment will deliver discipline that tends to breed responsible pupils and a high level of performance for future leaders
Therefore, when the history of Liberia’s post-war reconstruction is penned down, AML shall stand tall among all other foreign direct investments Liberia has seen since 2006, given these kinds of broad impactful contributions.
“Since the establishment of the school, our students managed to continuously learn in this little mud-building, and has discouraged a lot of parents from sending their kids to school”, said Richard James, the Proprietor of the school.
“If God calls me today, I will be the happiest person because my dream has become a reality and I want to be grateful to ArcelorMittal, the county authorities, our Representative Vicent Willie, and the construction company for a great job”.
He furthered: “now that we have a decent building, we await the dedication”.
The project is being done in alliance with Grand Bassa County authorities who granted construction rights to the Wredyu Construction Company which is stationed in the county-based.
The cost of the new Kpue town school including furniture and other aspects can be put at more than USD$150,000.00. That’s according to the construction firm which announced the school is fully completed and ready for dedication.
Two weeks ago, a USD$97 thousand fencing project completely funded by ArcelorMittal at Wayzohn city’s Gorblee High School was also completed and awaiting dedication.