Goal: To Secure a Humane Future for the People of West Africa

On the eve of the next phase of the African Literacy and Human Rights Project, two long-term human rights advocates brief those attending an open house and dinner at the Church of Scientology Pasadena on the goals and importance of their initiative.

Liberian human rights activist Joseph Yarsiah briefed those attending the Church of Scientology Pasadena human rights open house on the African Literacy Project.

The horrific effects of long-term illiteracy are not just theoretical in Liberia, Sierra Leone and other West African countries according to Pasadena attorney Tim Bowles and Liberian human rights activist Joseph Yarsiah. At a human rights open house and dinner at the Church of Scientology Pasadena, they briefed those attending on the way illiteracy fueled the hatred, fear and bloodthirsty revenge that marked Liberia’s 1980 coup d’état, 14 years of genocidal civil war and 11 years of savage conflict in neighboring Sierra Leone.

Bowles and Yarsiah have spent 12 years reversing this culture of inhumanity through youth leadership initiatives, working with victims of rape and torture, former child soldiers and other survivors of 21st-century regional genocides.

Without an educated populace, the region would be virtually guaranteed to slip back into the madness of still very recent times.

Joseph Yarsiah, Liberian human rights advocate

“Human rights are often taken for granted here in the U.S.,” said Bowles. “In comparison, through our Youth for Human Rights International work, we know that young people living in post-genocide societies such as Liberia and Sierra Leone are highly motivated to create a future for their region based on human rights. There is not a single individual in those countries who has not been touched in some very personal way by the atrocities committed there. These are rising youth leaders profoundly motivated to say ‘never again’ to the civil conflicts that made life a living hell in their earliest years.”

Bowles and Yarsiah carried out their campaign in coordination with Youth for Human Rights International, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering young people through knowledge and application of the United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). But they ran into a major barrier to accomplishing their purpose.

Yarsiah, who survived 14 years of his country’s brutal civil wars, explained that “after almost 10 postwar years of developing successful programs based on the UDHR in my native Liberia and neighboring countries, Tim and I realized that literacy had to become our focus. Without an educated populace, the region would be virtually guaranteed to slip back into the madness of still very recent times.”

To resolve this, they formed the African Literacy and Human Rights Project, a collaboration between Youth for Human Rights and Applied Scholastics International, the not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to the broad implementation of Study Technology, researched and developed by American author and educator L. Ron Hubbard.

“We believe human rights are never possible without effective, competency-based education,” said Bowles. “The African Literacy and Human Rights Project, armed with L. Ron Hubbard’s powerful learning tools, is to provide not just renewed hope but the means for thousands of Liberian educators and their constituent youth to truly achieve national and regional self-determination in their lifetimes.”

The open house presentation took place on the eve of the launch of Phase III of the project. Phase I introduced Study Technology to Liberian government and civil society leaders and held a three-day “train the trainers” workshop. Phase II included literacy education sessions to 600 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students resulting in two Monrovia high schools committing to work with Applied Scholastics International.

Phase III of the pilot introduces these education tools to teachers and students in two schools and a summer partnership with AME University in Monrovia to train faculty and incoming freshmen on Study Technology.

Yarsiah, who has just completed several weeks of training and preparation in Pasadena for the next critical stages of the campaign, plans to develop the project as a model for similar initiatives throughout the developing world. He told those attending that with his understanding of Study Technology and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he is now armed with the know-how necessary to make human rights a fact in West Africa.

The Church of Scientology and Scientologists support United for Human Rights and its program for young people, Youth for Human Rights, the world’s largest nongovernmental human rights education campaign. The initiative is inspired by L. Ron Hubbard’s conviction that “it is vital that all thinking men urge upon their governments sweeping reforms in the field of human rights.”

Applied Scholastics is a fully independent, nondenominational organization dedicated to raising educational standards throughout the world by making broadly available L. Ron Hubbard’s discoveries in the field of education and literacy. Applied Scholastics recognizes that the world will one day rest in the hands of today’s children and that their ability to carry this society forward will depend on their ability to study and apply what they have learned.

Source: ScientologyNews.org

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