The Madame Dorbor Scholarship – Student Update

In 2018, The EHG Fund and Full Circle Learning set up the Madame Dorbor Scholarship to help support multiple students in Liberia to fund their education. The students that were awarded the scholarship have continued to show growth and have helped develop their communities by using the lessons they learned from Full Circle Learning. We are so excited to share their progress and update you on the projects they have been working on this year.

Wubu and Rose

“Scholarship students Wubu and Rose received their books at Kingdom Foundation International this week, after starting a sustainable development club. The girls led other youth in identifying the causal effects of environmental pollution and public health problems. They recommended community-based approaches to prevention and environmental reform.”

Saldayah and Joana

“Saldayah and Joana gathered friends from O’Nance International Christian School and Faith Academy International. They taught the children how to make paper boats, to send love and appreciation out into the world. The children placed the 20 boats on the water and set them in motion. Their positive messages will go to wisdom exchange partners in other Full-Circle Learning countries.”

Laura

“Laura has acquired new land for a larger school farm. As one of the first scholarship students, she has taught her school how to feed the community and has especially helped keep the elderly alive during the pandemic. At a time when some were dying of hunger in their homes, Laura designed a plan to bring widows to the garden to grow their own food. For people too elderly to work, she hired drivers to bring them food from the garden. To pay the drivers, she and her classmates used funds earned from selling a portion of the food they had raised.”

Bendu

“Student Bendu of Korto school is one of FCL students whose life has changed since she got admitted into the school. She treks almost every day to school, a one hour walk. Bendu has been involved in nearly all of the school community service projects and she volunteered to help Laura, Masu, and Benetta with their projects. 

Before Covid, she has already learned and mastered the habit-of-heart “altruism” and frankly it is helping her to see the needs of others and assist. She has totally become selfless. 

Bendu lives in a community where nearly everyone of her neighbours including her parents are surviving just by the grace of God. She learned an art (trap making) that she has introduced in her community. She taught other young kids of her age and below her age the skills of making traps to hunt for crab meat. Most families in her community and other slums in Liberia who can’t afford frozen meat and fish depend on crab meat for survival and it is really helping. She produced over 20 crab traps as she taught the kids. Her first day catch was distributed among her neighbours. 

Bendu has also taught the kids how to be entrepreneurs. She knows that more people like the crab meat. The kids will not only hunt crabs for food but also to sell and raise some money for their families.”

About the Madame Dorbor Scholarship

Madame Dorbor scholarships are offered through the EHG Fund, an in-house charitable arm of DentalXChange, an American company that provides online services to the dental industry. DentalXChange’s company founders have helped support a number of projects of Full-Circle Learning, spanning over a decade. Generations of children in multiple countries have benefited from the charitable giving of DentalXChange’s employees and clients, who value equal access to purposeful, transformational education.

2020: A Leap Forward in Lesotho through Full-Circle Learning

Written by Sana Moussavi

Lesotho: Setting the Scene

A small girl and her mother trot down the road in blue hats with yellow trim walk down, enjoying the mild morning sun on their way to the market. A matching yellow umbrella shades their heads. In the afternoon, it will serve as a shield them from the daily monsoon storms that pelt the ruddy clay plateaus surrounding Maseru. The storms and their lightning spikes strike suddenly, frequently and unexpectedly, now that climate change has turned the seasons topsy-turvy.

From the paved road above Maseru, the picturesque patches of village – of thatch-roofed rondavels outside of town, brick block homes on the edge of town, white cinderblock homes in civil servants’ villages, meandering apartments, and slump-block schools and buildings, all tell a story of increasing development.

Dams have garnered the most precious resource, water, to export into neighboring South Africa, displacing some nomadic Highlanders as refugees now stuck in the cities. While still too many children serve as heads of households for families orphaned by disease or by parents traveling to work in South Africa, still greater numbers of people striving for self-sufficiency exist here than in past decades.

More families in the city have electricity and water than in some developing nations. More young workers have discovered their entrepreneurial skills. The National Curriculum Development Center has developed an integrated curriculum, a syllabus designed to harness the country’s creativity as adroitly as it harvests Lesotho’s abundant water, aiming to benefit sustainable development and the longevity of the nation’s long tradition of unity and morality.

Two malls, one owned by the king, feature Western-looking stores with clever names and marketing campaigns, where white collar workers spend their salaries and factory workers might spend a month’s salary on a suitcase or bicycle.

Still, like many Africans and even more so, the Basotho people protect tradition. They pray at the beginning of every meeting. They greet each stranger who passes. They value the keeping of promises. They ask about the health and well-being of the family—and on the same dirt road where the little girl walked, every family grows its garden of maize and spinach, bedecked with purple mint, wildflower relatives of the deadnettle and henbit that grow near cornfields. Every yard, serving four families, also sports a healthy peach tree or an avocado plant.

Along the road, commuters walk to work wearing business suits, headdresses and calico skirts, and every line of fashion in between. A traditional man remembers life in the past century. He tugs at his Basotho blanket, tips his conical hat, the mokoratlo, and stops to greet a stranger with a warm, “Dumela, Mme. Tell me about your day, about your walk, about the place where you stay when you go home on the plane…Your Southwestern mountains look like our mountains? Yes, is that so?… I dreamed of going there once myself. Oh, but I must take my leave now, so I will trust you to this kind lady walking past. She will take you safely over the puddles to your destination”—and indeed, she does.

Meanwhile, up in the Highlands, the sheep and goat and cow tenders on either side of the two-lane road gaze over mountains and valleys infinite as green blankets shaken out and laid over bushels of apples or maize, some flat, some pointed, all stretching out forever. Clouds cast shadows over the mountains’ shoulders. Standing alone, staring into the maw of the infinite canyons, you might expect a silence equally infinite. Instead you invariably hear the tinkle of a goat’s bell, reminding you that you are never alone. Human and animal settlers claim this scene as their daily workplace as well as their commute.

A land where grace survives, where concern for the health of a stranger’s brother still takes precedence over other priorities, a country whose natural beauty rivals that of any other, the mountain kingdom of Lesotho land and its Basotho people, gently lace the heartstrings.

2020: Full-Circle Learning Status Report

Full-Circle Learning cultivated its early relationship with schools in Mokhotlong. Students in that highland community helped their people develop sustainability in growing trees and preparing cropland over the course of a generation. As our 2017 FCL Community Impact Study identified the value of the project, as well as the challenge of sustaining programs in a mountain region where teachers often matriculated to the capital city, bringing their skills with them, it became prudent to collaborate with the stakeholders who had used this example as inspiration in redesigning their national curriculum goals. They saw the value of our common vision.

Maureen Mungai, the long-term Full-Circle Learning Consultant to Lesotho, returned to Lesotho with Sana Moussavi. They began to work with the National Curriculum Development Center to assist in aligning the goals outcomes of providers of higher education and the new integrated education syllabus, working through designated pilot schools and supported by the Inspectorate of the Lesotho Ministry of Education.

Mokhotlong schools would continue to receive training support, but the impetus for educating new and existing teachers and for integrating the goals of the national curriculum with the practical tools offered available through Full-Circle Learning would enhance the country’s advance toward greater self-sufficiency, resiliency, purpose, for the integration of character and academic development among its students and for the achievement of sustainable development goals in its communities. Sana Moussavi, the EHG Corporate Philanthropy specialist, would intermittently return to provide continuity as FCL identified an on-the-ground liaison who could offer support for the first African nation to meld higher education training, Education Ministry support and National Curriculum elements to build an inter-connected approach to community transformation, through Full-Circle Learning.  By the end of 2019, the stakeholders were ready for the next step.