-VP Taylor rallies support, meets major partners 

By Jerromie S. Walters

As she prepares to exit the Vice presidency, it’s obvious that beginning January of next year, opportunities won’t be available as it was, and to ensure that her dream doesn’t die, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, is rallying support to continue her commitment to girls’ education and empowerment in Liberia.

For over two decades, the Jewel Starfish Foundation, a NGO that’s owned by the Vice President, has grown from a little over 10 girls, to over 400 girls from the 15 counties across Liberia. In an interaction with the media following an engagement with her newest partners over the weekend, the Vice President rallied Liberians: “I want to make a call if there’s anyone that wants to make a contribution to help us keep girls in school, our office is located across from the YWCA, our signboards are outside, the Jewel Starfish Foundation, you can visit us here and make a contribution, the work must continue.”

In her opinion- the development of Liberia does not depend on who’s in power and who’s not, says it’s a long term work that requires everyone’s commitment. As a reference to their commitment, VP Taylor explained that beyond the current number of girls that are benefiting from the Foundation’s goodwill in Liberia, it has 21 girls In Malawi, 21 girls in Sierra Leone, 21 girls in Ghana and 1 in China. With this, she acknowledges that the foundation has gone beyond a local NGO, to an international NGO. 

“We are grateful, today we had guests from the International Conference  called Destined for Greatness DForG, and they have come to visit. Seeing the work I have done, they have given me an award as a humanitarian heroe and I think this is an answer to prayers because after the election I was wondering, where do I go, where do I start? But you always have to start at the beginning and I think God has secured this NGO so that today I can have a place to work.”

VP Taylor: “The work with women is my heartbeat, and I don’t think I will ever stop doing this kind of work as long as I live. I just want to thank Destined for Greatness, they are our new partner. They have promised to provide scholarship opportunities, scholarships for girls to go to the U.S., Israel and other places around the world so they continue their work so I just want to say thank you to them, thank you to Rev. Father Bimba for being the bridge that connected my organization to theirs.”

She believes both organizations hold a unique bond, as Destined for Greatness is a star foundation, while her NGO is a Starfish foundation. “God has connected us and there are lots of works we are looking forward to doing over the next few years and I’m just praying that God will give us the grace.  At the same time, the Vice President acclaimed all other persons that have supported the Jewel Starfish Foundation over the years, in its quest to promote girls’ education.

VP Taylor: “I have been working since I was 21 years old, outside of Liberia and inside Liberia, so I think my destiny is just going to another phase. I’m still very young, I have not retired, so I know there will still be a lot but the central part of what I will do in the next few years is to continue this support for girls and for women’s empowerment, I think this is where the work needs to be enhanced.”

During her brief chat with the partners prior to her engagement with the media, the Vice President noted that the vision is also encouraged by her desire to build Liberia and the capacity of young Liberians, especially women. She says girls must be afforded the needed opportunity (ies) to learn and be the best because it is their qualification that enables women to compete with men.

Over the years, they have placed keen emphasis on girls between 7th to 12 grades, because they believe it is at that level they (Girls) often experienced challenges that lead them to being high school dropout. To boost their efforts, they are partnering with other institutions to unleash opportunities for the girls and they are open to more of such opportunities as they go along.

Through the Jewel Starfish Foundation support, she admitted that there has been significant transformation in the girls’ lives, as most of them are not from wealthy backgrounds. Though they (The girls) are being supported by the foundation, the girls are allowed to venture into professions of their chosen. For their commitment to the foundation and their education, VP Taylor, hailed the girls and expressed her anticipation of more of said commitment.

As she approaches a new dawn of her life, the Liberian Vice President says a lot needs to be done but she anticipates the best in life after the vice presidency.

Astonished by the brief statements by few of the Foundation’s beneficiaries, Bishop Robert Bimba, the President of Destined for Greatness (D4G)- couldn’t hold back his commendation. He openly admitted that they have no regret partnering with the Jewel Starfish Foundation. Like Bishop Robert Bimba, Ms. Rebecca Holden, International Spokesperson, Stars Foundation, hailed the girls’ performances, and noted that it signifies that they are learning. She highlighted the significance of computer literacy for the young women. Moreover, she thanked the Vice President and termed her (the VP) as the Jewel Starfish Foundation girls’ motivation. At the closure of the engagement, the spiritual Ministers offered prayer for the foundation, the VP and Liberia.