Happy Family Center For Children With Disabilities

Lifting Liberia first met Kerbbeh, now 6 years old, over a year ago at Happy Family Center. “Hap Fam” is a place I make a point of visiting each time I am in Liberia. The staff and children are truly unforgettable. I had not remembered Kerbbeh from my previous visits and inquired to the director about her. The director told me Kerbbeh’s father brought her to this school because she was deaf. Kerbbeh’s mother died in child birth with her younger sister and Jallah (her father) is struggling to raise the two young girls on his own. Apparently Kerbbeh lost her hearing at a little over a year old. She suffered a severe case of malaria and was given an overdose of quinine which is blamed for her hearing loss. I asked if Kerbbeh had ever seen a doctor and was told no.

The director put me in touch with Kerbbeh’s father and he gave me permission to take her to a doctor. With limited equipment and resources, the doctor was only able to determine there was nerve damage, but to what extent was unknown. Kerbbeh was unable to communicate at all, but the doctor said cognitively she was normal. Lifting Liberia found a small school in Sinkor for the deaf where Kerbbeh could learn to sign and be educated. Given permission by her father, Lifting Liberia has been sponsoring Kerbbeh who just completed her first year at Hope for the Deaf. We are so proud of her! She is bright, smart, and now able to sign and communicate.

Unfortunately, the school only goes to 7th grade. The children are taught the trade of being shoe cobblers with very few other options. We can only hope as we continue our work that somehow, some way, we can change the course of these precious children’s destinies.

Karen Mathot
Lifting Liberia