It’s essential for parents and families to stress and prioritize education to their children

Most children in Liberia grow up in extreme poverty and don’t even know if they will eat that day, let alone go to school. One young lady, Oretha Snyder Davis, shows us how education can change the future and break the poverty cycle.

Oretha grew up in Liberia’s Montserado and Nimba Counties. Though her parents did not have much, they valued education and created a good foundation for Oretha and her 12 siblings. Her father died when she was only four years old, but Oretha’s mother raised all her children with a strong sense of core values, discipline and a firm foundation in the Bible.

At the age of 18, Oretha completed high school and moved to the city of Monrovia to attend the University of Liberia where she obtained a bachelor’s degree. To pay her way through school, she sought work in the private sector. Oretha spent some time working in the oil industry, in the airline/travel industry, then eventually ended up spending 16 years working for the United Nations.

In 2006, Oretha received her Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from Cuttington University.  Although this would have been enough education for anyone to make a decent living wage, she went on to obtain a second bachelor’s degree in 2009 from Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia because a Nigerian man, whose only motive was acquiring money, had falsely accused and sued her for caring for a young woman. She was determined to learn about law so that she would never be taken advantage of again. To this day, she continues to offer her services to those wrongly accused with no means for representation.

Through hard work, strong ethics, and a love for Liberia, Oretha obtained the prestigious title of Assistant Justice Minister for Liberia’s Administration and Public Safety. Oretha regularly speaks to students, specifically to young women, in promoting the value of education. She actively advocates for basic human rights for all Liberian children. She strongly believes that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s plans and agenda regarding education will bring about change in due time. Oretha believes for change to occur, it’s essential that parents and families not only stress, but also prioritize education to their children. After 14 years of violence, Oretha states, “It will take time before education returns to its pre-war status, but it can and will happen.”

Special Note: Oretha has been married to her college sweetheart for almost 13 years and they have one child together. Her husband is a Pastor at the Living in Christ International Prayer Ministries.