Raise Your Hand Foundation Impact: West Africa
Who we are Projects Why Liberia Raise your hand & get involved Hands for Change Reach Contact Us

President’s Corner:   I am often asked, WHY LIBERIA?

In a world overwhelmed with need, why have we chosen to work in Liberia? It is a valid question to ask of an all volunteer organization in which dozens of people donate hard-earned funds and countless hours investing in people they will probably never meet, in a small African nation continents away from the comforts of their homes.

Most of us can barely envision the horrific long-term suffering and loss experienced by people who lived through the terrors of a war that maimed people, brutalized families, forced children to serve as soldiers, and caused large-scale displacement. Some Liberians carry permanent physical and/or emotional scars, and for those people our hearts ache. We see our mission in Liberia as twofold – to address the hurts of these people by building the professional capacity in the nation to address their needs. And in Liberia we have a tremendous "pool" of talent from which to draw upon. Despite deep loss and against all circumstantial odds, we have witnessed the very strength of the human spirit in the young Liberians who face each day with a remarkable spirit of optimism, determination, and purpose. They are eager to learn and to serve, and encounter countless challenges in their efforts to do both. They live in a nation with no electricity or running water, no easy public transportation other than limited and poorly maintained taxis. They have few textbooks and often have to share with several other students. At night they seek out well-lit buildings like restaurants and bars and sit in front of them to study. They battle malaria, typhoid fever and other diseases in a nation with only 231 trained physicians, according to the Ministry of Health’s 2010 report.

The world is indeed full of hurting people and we have found our focus here, in this exotic but war devastated West African nation.

Our mission is to help the youth of Liberia maximize their potential, improve their life circumstances, and ultimately serve a nation in desperate need of their professional contributions... one person at a time. The "ripple effect" of the giving and embracing of opportunity. We have linked our lives with these young men and women. We are committed to them. And our good news... Since we began this effort, we have continued to collect enough each year in donations to add increasing numbers of students to our scholarship roster. We take each new commitment very seriously – we add student recipients only when we are confident that we will be able to see those students through their academic journey into a professional life of productivity and service to their struggling nation. The fact that we have continued with this level of growth and sustainability as a non-profit organization reflects the broad support and commitment we have received from our valued donors, volunteers, and friends. Our students are thriving in college preparatory classes, working collaboratively in RYHF student campus chapters, and pursuing university degrees in professions identified as being in critically short supply in the nation. Pictured above is our first RYHF scholarship recipient graduate, Adeyemi. This talented young man received his BSc degree in nursing in 2011 and has since been working as a nurse – healing, comforting, educating, and caring for hundreds people in a region in great need of health care professionals. The service he and future recipient graduates will provide is a gift to Liberia and the joy of RYHF.

We invite you to join with us as we work to make a big difference in this small corner of the world. When you do, it won’t be long before you can answer "WHY LIBERIA?" for yourself.

There is nothing like a smile on the face of someone living with hope in an environment of such monumental obstacles. It is radiant and humbling. And that spirit, in turn, gives us hope

All the best,

Shelley Spurlock, Founder and RYHF President.
Donate Online