By Fefe Sampson (YES 2013-2014, Liberia, placed by AFS-USA in Parkersburg, WV)
I am a registered nurse and graduate from United Methodist University, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I’m also a YES alumna. During my stay in the U.S., I learned how other people live and react to things differently. I learned tolerance.
I was inspired and motivated by a lot of people I met during my exchange year, who have helped me believe in myself and give back to my community and country.
My passion is caring for children and trying to address the health problems they face. Inspired by my fellow alumnus Lincoln Ninneh, who has previously been awarded YES Alumni Grants, I decided to take the chance and write a project proposal for a grant award. Guess what? My project was funded!
Liberia is rich in natural resources and fertile soil for growing nutritious food, such as rice, plantains, and eddoes, that can be given to babies as young as six months old. However, due to a lack of knowledge about the preparation and nutritional value of these foods, mothers often consider using imported food. Many mothers cannot afford imported food for a long period of time, so they turn to less nutritious food. The aim of my project, Millennium Food, was to provide young mothers education on the preparation and health benefits of locally grown food to improve the health of children in my community.
In August, we trained 75 young, uneducated mothers in Ganta City on how to prepare highly nutritious foods that are grown locally to support the health and growth of their babies. We educated them on the health benefits of good nutrition and malnutrition’s effect on children’s bodies. Our team created recipes using affordable, nutritious food and taught the participants how to prepare them.
Many thanks and much appreciation to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for their continuous sponsorship of the YES program and the YES Alumni Grants program. I also extend my appreciation to iEARN-Liberia for their guidance and support along the way. Finally, I am grateful for my project team and the innovative volunteers at Teach 4 Healthy Lives. Their passion and persistence in serving their communities will be forever remembered and admired. We hope to continue to make health available to all.