IHI in Liberia serves impoverished adults, many of whom have been displaced by or suffered severe losses from Liberia’s civil war (1989-2003). Ninety percent of the learners are women who have dropped out of school to make a subsistence living selling goods in the marketplace. The women represent various ethnic groups but all face similar challenges related to lack of access to resources. “Market women,” as they are called, work in squalid conditions, where their children, whom they must care for while they work, face danger and disease. IHI literacy classes cover reading, writing, math, science, social studies, with particular emphasis on issues related to daily life. IHI programming also focuses on health – with a community health center outside of Monrovia, IHI sees roughly 17,000 patients per year. Because of this, IHI has integrated health education along with the instruction and grants in small business development. Learners receive National Ministry of Education certification for completion of IHI courses.
The majority of learners speak the local languages of Bassa, Grebo, Kru, Kissi, Vai, Kpelle, Loma, Krahn, and Gola and are of the same ethnic groups as the language. Some of them do speak minimal English. A primary goal of IHI courses is to help learners actively build self-confidence and leadership to confront social and political realities that threaten their dignity and human rights.
A primary goal of IHI courses is to help learners actively build self-confidence and leadership to confront social and political realities that threaten their dignity and human rights.
“We believe that civic and economic participation by grassroots, concerned, conscientious literate women is essential to this process. Before I use to ask people to write my name. But now I can write my name in the bank, at my church and even at my children PTA (Parent Teacher Association) meeting. I want to thank God one more time for you (ED) bringing this school to us in Liberia that make most of my friends here today here to know how to read and write. I am now proud of myself even my husband is proud and also my children who help me to learn to read my notes are proud."
- Bisi Iderabdullah, Director,