Lafayette

Mar 31, 2011 7:47 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Local Charity Helps Thousands in Africa

Acadiana residents are reaching out to a struggling African country.

Eric Wowoh lived in refugee camp for 14 years.
He said, "I went through torture, beating and was forced to leave the country as a refugee into foreign countries were I spent half my youthful days."

Wowoh was born in the African country of Liberia in the midst of a civil war that lasted more than 15 years.

He said, "it wiped out a whole generation of people and that happened to be when I was a young boy growing up."

The United Nations and US Government helped him relocate to Lafayette five years ago. Since living in the US, he started the non profit organization-- Change Agent Network-- to help his family and friends back in Liberia.

"The prosperity of the American society, it just blew my mind away," he explained. "I've never seen anything like it before."

He's made it a mission to provide Liberians with tools for an education. One of the ways he does that is by collecting old computers.

"Most of the younger people that go to school in Liberia have never had the opportunity to see a computer, touch it or even know anything about it, " Wowoh explained. "For me that's a serious problem in terms of job opportunity."

So far with funds raised here in Lafayette, two schools have been built and a third is in the works.

Heather Lecky is the treasurer for Change Agent Network. She visited Liberia in November for two weeks.

She said, "we were able to implement a sponsorship program and raise the teachers salaries from 30 dollars a month to 80 dollars a month."

Board member, Marti Thomas, said "they've worked for two years to build a school, start the school, teach 600 kids a day for no pay."

Wowoh is making is next trip to Liberia in June. He plans to stay for seven months. Volunteers are working on getting their next shipment of donations together.

Visit www.changeagentlive.org or call 337 781- 4208 for more information.

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