Having grown up in poverty in Liberia, West Africa, I know first hand both the dire need for better educational opportunities in that country and the empowerment that a quality education provides. As the youngest of nine children, I experienced the death of my father when I was just two months old. Simply to survive, I routinely searched through garbage cans for food. Other necessities, such as clothing, were hard to come by. Healthcare and education were unaffordable and out of reach. In fact, by the age of 15, I had only managed to receive a third grade education. My challenges were only compounded as Liberia succumbed to a bloody civil war that ravaged Liberia's economy, infrastructure and its people. Unfortunately, my early childhood experience mirrors that of children across Liberia — and much of Africa — even today.
Through determination and providence, today I am very fortunate to have obtained a bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership and a master's degree in Divinity and Education. Currently a resident of New York City, I am pursuing an M.B.A. Now it is my greatest passion, and the cause to which I have dedicated my life, to help Liberia's youth of today escape Liberia's iron grip of poverty through education.
I founded African Dream Academy (ADA) in 2005. From 2005 to 2011, ADA operated the African Dream Camp (formerly known as Vacation Bible School (VBS) to provide counseling to 6,000 Liberian children for two week periods several times a year to inspire them to reach their dreams and to educate them in the life skills they desperately need. September 10, 2012, marked an exciting new chapter for ADA as it opened its first fully academic school that is currently educating 140 children in classes from Nursery through the fourth grade, and from September through mid-July.
As described in more detail on the "Profile of Liberia" page, Liberia has now emerged from many years of war and in 2010 held its second consecutive internationally recognized democratic election, in which Harvard educated and 2011 Nobel Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was reelected to her second term as President. Yet as hope rises in Liberia, much remains to be done. Literacy remains below 32% in Liberia today and remains an obstacle to breaking the country's cycle of poverty. To see how you can help ADA's mission to empower African children through education, I encourage you to read through this website. And please visit often. ADA will update this site regularly to report on progress in our ongoing efforts in Liberia and our fundraising activities in the United States.
Samuel R. Enders
There is no better gift than to brighten a child's future.
The African Dream Academy needs volunteers. Click here to find out how to get involved.
Monrovia West Africa