Monday, September 10, 2007

The Mother Patern BSW Program Launches

I am honored to tell you, many of whom have supported and looked to this day, that today, September 10, 2007 sees the beginning of the first and only professional level Social Work program in Liberia. Mother Patern College of Health Sciences, a Catholic college within the Stella Maris Polytechnic Institute, has been working to develop this program, with the support of two Reformed Christian Colleges in Grand Rapids, USA: Calvin College and Kuyper College. This ecumenical effort gives the people of Liberia the highest level psychosocial or mental health related program in the country. The first class has 20 students, and we are confident each succeeding class will be larger as the word gets around.

As you know, Liberia has seen enormous damage in communities and individuals everywhere. The recovery of a destroyed Liberia requires concerted efforts on all fronts. Resurfacing roads, assisting with job creation, conducting workshops, or digging wells are all necessary but insufficient without working to resolve conflict and provide mental health and community intervention. A rural mother of three, traumatized by rape and/or the death of her husband, shackled by illiteracy, will not recover simply by employment and good access to the cities. Nor will her village. Community workers, trained and supervised by graduates of the Mother Patern professional social workers, will provide tools to help her work better with her family, her neighbors, and with her own internal roadblocks.

This is just the beginning of the Mother Patern BSW program. There is much work to be done. Most of our students will not receive their degrees and licenses until spring 2011. Her partner colleges, Kuyper and Calvin, have committed to provide more support, including sending instructors to liaison with the staff and teach courses. Someday we hope to exchange faculty and students, or at least have students from the US programs visit us.

For me, this is a huge moment. This is in part why I came; to help facilitate this event. But of course, it is not the biggest moment in my effort here. It is not, as the French would say, my raison d’ĂȘtre-- my “reason to be” here. My biggest moment will be on that rainy day in August 2011, when the first of many graduating classes march out of the Monrovia Pavilion, degrees in hand, on their way to help Liberians all over the country-- including that mother, her three children, and her village-- find their way to wholeness and freedom.

That is the reason I came.

The 2o first year BSW students plus most of the incoming students who just received their Associates degree in Social Work for a total of around 26. Pioneers all! The director of the program, Joseph Kpukuyou on the left, Yers Trooly on the right.

Weather: Rain this morning-- about two inches, followed by high but solid overcast. Temps in the low 80s, but with a 15mph wind from the North. Could indicate the first break in the armor of the wet season, as the winds prepare to shift from the west to the easterly direction of the dry season. Tuesday the 11th, Bright sunshine, hot and humid. Light winds from the South, then West, temps in the mid 80's.


shadesofgray said...

Amen! to you and your family and all the work that you are doing.
God bless as you continue down this rugged road.

The Reeds in Liberia said...


You think this road is rugged-- you should see our new driveway! Stay tuned for our next blog as our 4wd SUV and a multi ton pick up both get stuck trying to build a better path to our door!


Anonymous said...

Hi Reed family!
This is the Cannons. Glad to hear things are progressing for you, never an easy task in Liberia! Terri is coming over in a few months to pick up a little girl we are adopting, she has Down's Syndrome, and she is just precious. So let us know if you need anything at all! Our email is

Blessings abundant!
Jim and Terri

Joe R. said...

Bless you, Bob! What a wondrous hope from God for healing for and through the people in Liberia! Thank you for obeying God's call to bring about this hope.

Joe R. said...

God bless you, Bob! What a wondrous hope for healing from God for and through the people in Liberia! Thank you obeying God's call to help bring about this hope.