Charity in Liberia

Photo of Liberian refugee children at Center for Youth EmpowermentHumanist charity in action I have been running a small charity for about 10 years to help a group of Liberian refugees living in a camp in Buduburam, Ghana, due to the civil war in Liberia, which lasted some 12 years.

Buduburam has one remarkable asset ? an email café in the camp ? otherwise there were many problems. Sewage in the streets, poor school facilities, the houses (we would call them huts) were seriously overcrowded and they had to pay for the water supply, by the bucket, which came in trucks.

They sent me an E-mail, telling me about these problems, and I noted that they had started a school with the help of a Scholarship Fund supported by a few Liberian businessmen living in Accra 50 miles away. I made a contribution to the Fund and checked the web pages being run by many church charities to find that all that they said about their condition was true.

I made an appeal to Humanists in South Australia and then at Conventions. Donations were sent at the beginning of each term. Donations were not limited to money. Their Peace Program received a boost when I found the Conflict Resolution Network (Sydney) run by Stella Cornelius (now deceased, but the CRN continues). I printed out and posted their programs, which are available without charge on the web. Two young teachers took this course on a circuit of several church schools in Buduburam. I also introduced them to Books for Africa, an American organisation which delivers books by the container load. Far too expensive for Australia Post!

Photo of Liberian refugee children at Center for Youth EmpowermentWith help from America, Germany and us, they made considerable progress over the years. While our contribution was small and has reduced in recent years, still we have been consistent where others have dropped out. They expanded from an elementary school to running courses for adults, computer courses, Ladies sewing courses and beauty courses etc.

You can read their May 2011 report, also earlier reports on http://sa.humanist.org.au/. In organising this charity I have been able to arrange that it involves the least amount of work possible. I have never suggested that it should be controlled by a committee. This means meetings, minutes, arguments etc. So it is a one-man show. (But donations to Liberia are always marked ‘from Australian Humanists’.).) I investigated the possibility of becoming a charity with tax deductibility etc. But the requirements of the tax department are not easy and involve costs. The process has to be gone through every year. So I bank all donations in a business account which does not pay interest and therefore pays no tax, I have an ABN number and simple return is made each year. While I cannot offer tax deductibility I guarantee that all of your donation arrives in Liberia because I pay the Telex Fee of $30.00.

To make a donation all you have to do is write out your cheque in the name ‘Liberian Refugees Scholarship Fund and post to R. M. Clifford, 120 Goodman Road, Elizabeth South, SA, 5112.

A more detailed explanation of making a payment with alternatives can be found at http://www.users.on.net/rmc/helpliberiankids.htm.

Dick Clifford

 

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