A major theme of Westminster’s missions in West Africa this year is helping girls stay in school until graduation. If a girl gets an education, she will have a greater chance for herself and her family to lead a healthier life with less poverty and more independence. Too frequently young women miss school due to menstruation, causing them to fall behind in their studies and sometimes to leave school altogether. This leaves them open to early marriage and childbearing and a lifetime of menial work or no job at all. This blog focuses upon work with Westminster partners in Liberia and Sierra Leone. A later blog will highlight plans of our partners in Tema, Ghana. A representative of our Tema Redemption Church partner wrote on March 1, “We as a church will want to focus our energy in making sure the girl child is not left out when it comes to education both in our church and community.” There are several things Westminster is doing to promote the education of girls in the schools and orphanages we support in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Keeping Girls in Schools – Scholarships First of all, we are continuing our efforts to provide scholarships for girls in Liberia. For families having limited resources, it is sometimes impossible to pay school fees for all the children, and almost always it is the sons who will be supported in school. By subsidizing girls’ school fees, we are making a huge difference in their lives, making it possible for them to get an education. Keeping Girls in Schools – Hygiene Kits Next, by supporting The MoonCatcher Project here in the Capital District, we are able to provide reusable menstrual hygiene kits and reproductive education to the girls in our projects in both countries. Without this support, many girls will miss 3 to 5 days of classes every month and risk dropping out of school during their teen years. Keeping Girls in Schools – Support through a Registered Nurse We have recently added services of a registered nurse at Hope Mission School in Liberia. She is able to provide education and support for these young women as well as to distribute menstrual hygiene kits. We are planning to extend these services in Sierra Leone over the next few months to the MOM Orphanage and a project run by the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL). Providing Adequate Latrines Finally, it is imperative that the schools themselves have adequate latrines. Westminster provided latrines for both boys and girls at Hope Mission several years ago, and is currently working with FACE Africa to repair and upgrade these facilities. Together these efforts of Westminster are making a big difference, and your continuing support for our projects is so very much appreciated. The African Spring Dinner will be held on Saturday, March 30th, 2019. Click here for more information (http://www.wpcalbany.org/upcoming-events). Registrations are encouraged, but not required, by Tuesday, March 26 for planning purposes: Online Registration preferred: Register today Call: 518-436-8544 or Email: email@example.com Lyn has been a community volunteer assisting with Westminster projects serving Liberia and Sierra Leone since 2011. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching math, and science in Liberia in the early 1970’s. She also volunteers with The MoonCatcher Project and with the Schenectady County Public Library’s Friends of the Library used book store – The Whitney Book Corner. Lyn has a Masters degree in Social Work and is a semi-retired Physician Assistant. She resides in Schenectady, NY.