Saturday, October 10, 2009

Peace in Focus Liberia Participant Bios


I am grateful that I was accepted to be a part of the Peace in Focus training workshop when I brought my brother for the workshop. It has added a new dimension to my life that I will forever remember. Did I forget? No. My name is Alice and I was born in August 1987 in Monrovia, Liberia. Liberia is great, we are recovering gradually from 14 years of civil war and one of such transformation has been Peace in Focus coming to Liberia. I am very glad you came and more happy that you afforded me an opportunity to participate and learn. I promise to use all the knowledge obtained especially those on conflict and violence by working on myself and then on others who are my peers.


My name is Boakai and I was born in January 1992. I am from Nimba County, one of the fifteen counties of Liberia. It is located in the North and is surrounded by Bong County, Grand Bassa County, Rivercess County, Sinoe County and Grand Gedeh County. It also shares a border with the Guinea and Ivory Coast. I graduated from High School on the last day of the Peace in Focus workshop, which was great. I love to go out with friends, play games, watch television especially football game and listen to jokes on radio. My favorite team is MANCHESTER UNITED football club, the #1 in the world. I love hot dogs, fufu and groundnut soup, fried okra soup, fried potatoes and many more. The training done by Kyle with the support of Ma Bendu and Pulano was great and we hope to get on more and more with making photos and telling stories of them. We shall also become good peacebuilders in our communities.

Emmanuel Chea       

Emmanuel Chea is my name and I was born in April 1993. Can you guess my age then? ____ ok. I have two brothers and five sisters and I am a proud Liberian. I attend the Matilda Newport Junior High School in Monrovia. It is one of the many public schools run and owned by the government. Every day of my life, I am dreaming of becoming a Doctor. My hope is to help young people by building a medical center for them. The Peace in Focus training workshop plays an important role in my life by helping me make images that tell stories. It also helps me understand that whenever I have a conflict with anyone, I should resolve it positively, but not to think of negative and destructive means that will breed more tension. My favorite foods are fried chicken, fish, fried beans and rice.

Emmanuel Kardyuway

My name is Emmanuel Kardyuway. Is my last name difficult for you to pronounce? It is easy, Kar-ju-way. It is a typical Liberian name. I was born in Bong County to the union of Martha Kardyuway and Moses Kardyuway in March 1992. I went to primary school and began my secondary education but could not continue because my parents could not pay my school fees.  I am currently living with my oldest brother and pray to be in school some day. I enjoyed the workshop. At least, I can become a good photographer if I do not go back to school. I hope this training continues so that I can fully learn all that I can with Peace In Focus thereby transforming my life and becoming a meaningful citizen. Thanks to our Liberian brothers and sisters who will assist us to improve in the absence of Kyle.


Fanny is my name and I do not know my age. I lived with my grandmother in Harbel, Margibi County for most of my childhood life. I came to Monrovia in 2004 and began school. Now I am a fourth grade student of the Esther Barcon Elementary School. It is a school owned and operated by the government. I enjoyed my days at the Peace In Focus workshop where I learned how to make photos and overcome conflict in my own life. It was really great for me and I know that all I learned can be used to improve my life. I am a very shy person but gradually I am beginning to interact with others. I see most of my friends are educated and I want to be educated too. In the future, I want to be a nurse.  


I was born in November 1992. I live in Monrovia and I am a 12th grader attending the New Era International School located at Bushrod Island. My desire is to be a medical doctor who will affect my community, country, and the world at large by fighting sicknesses, violence, and conflict daily. I am very grateful for the opportunity afforded me by through the training workshop. Through the training, I can now talk to my friends and others to stop violence. I now know how to tell a story from a picture. Pictures are meaning to my life and the transformation of my community and my country. Though we suffered much by the many years of civil war and the pictures we remember are all negative, but together, we can turn a negative picture into something positive and tell a new and resounding story. Here at home, I spend some of my time watching my favorite team CHELSEA FC. I love rice and spaghetti and sometimes other food like bread, eggs, potatoes, oranges, apples and banana. Finally, Peace In Focus, please come back again.


Naomi is my name and I am 14 years old. I had many challenges at the Peace in Focus Workshop. It was my first time to handle a camera and more over to talk among my peers. As we went through the training, I learned to make stories of the picture I took and this has become a very important milestone for success in my life. To my friends, remember that this workshop has given us the space to transform our lives and hope many of my brothers and sisters in Liberia, and the world at large can benefit from such a meaningful program. I want to see development. Many Liberians are living in homes without toilets and as a result, people are using their communities to dispose of waste. Please let us change our attitude. I hope children will have the opportunity to go to school at an early age because I am now 14 years and in the first grade. I never had the opportunity but with God on my side I will learn and become someone great in the future.
Thanks to Peace in Focus and all our local trainers.


My name is Paye. I am a Liberian living in Monrovia, Liberia. I was born in July 1979 in Bah Town, Gbazon District, Grand Gedeh County. Grand Gedeh County is located in the southeastern region of Liberia. My time at the Peace In Focus Workshop was great. I was not one of those who were chosen as a participant but when I brought my little brother who was a participant, I asked to become a part and was accepted. Now I am learning to make better photos, deal with violence and conflict in my life and best of all relate to people. I am no longer the guy who keeps things inside. My favorite dish is cassava leaf with rice. Cassava leaf is a locally made food. Now I love to take photos, which is my best hobby.


I am 17 years old and I was born in Monrovia, Liberia. Presently I am living with my parents but not attending school and hope to go back to and continue my secondary education when they are financially able. The Peace in Focus training was great and I hope to become a good MAKER of photos. Cheers to all my friends in Burundi, Boston and Liberia.


My name is Princess. I was born in October 1994 in Camp Waterloo, Freetown, Sierra Leone unto the union of Mr. and Mrs. D. Samson Jeh. I am a sixth grade student attending the St. Michael Catholic Elementary School in Gardnesville. I want to become a doctor. I enjoyed my days at the program. There I learn how to talk among my friends, about photography, how to deal with violence, conflict, peace and how to answer questions.


Raphael is my name. I was born in Ghana, but spend all my life in Liberia. I am sixteen years old and live with my dad and mom at the Steven Tolbert estate. My hobbies are leading, singing and most of the time playing football. My favorite kind of food is rice and fish. I love juices and some vegetables. My time at the Peace In Focus workshop was great. There I learned to make photos and today I am making meaningful photos that can change conflict and violence. My dream is to go to the United States of America to play basketball like Michael Jordan and effect change in the lives of Liberian youth.


I am 13 years old. I live around Hotel Africa in lower Virginia. I am a 7thgrade attending the Virginia Christian Academy. When I grow up, I want to be a Medical Doctor. Being a part of the Peace In Focus workshop was so great because I learned a lot of new things and met many new friends. For me, my favorite dish is rice with greens and fried chicken and my best friend is Thelma who was not a part of the program but knows all that we did. Hats off to our leaders, Mr. Pulano and Miss MaBendu.


I was born in November 1992 to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson Dean. I am an 11th grade student at the G. W. Gibson High School. After my graduation, I want to go to a computer school to become an accountant and a good manager. My experience with Kyle, Pulano, and Ma Bendu was great. With them I learned how to make pictures and deal with violence and conflict situations. My favorite hobby is always to be by myself and study my lessons. Also, I love rice and fried fish the most.


Vincent is my name and I turned seventeen years old in June 2009.  I am a 9th grade student of the Boatswain Junior High School located in the Jamaica Road Community. I am a Christian and a Grebo by tribe who wants to help change my country. There are sixteen tribes in Liberia. I am from Saywanken Jilapo District in Sinoe County. My desire is to become a Scientist. My second career choice has become what I learned from the Peace In Focus workshop. I want to fully know how to take photos, how to make images, how to read images and use the camera well. I want to help meaningfully resolve conflicts and stop violence.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Peace in Focus in Liberia

Peace in Focus ran a pilot program in Monrovia, Liberia from Sept. 28 - Oct. 2, 2009 for 14 local youth. Through collaboration with our local partners, the Liberia Media Center and the Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding, and with the support of the Liberia Peacebuilding Office, the Ministry of Youth and Sport, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Peace in Focus is working to launch wide-reaching youth development and peacebuilding programs in Liberia in early 2010. This workshop was intended to mobilize support and work with a cadre of talented and underprivileged Liberian youth. These young people have decided to launch a monthly Peace Journal, which will include their stories, photo-essays, and youth perspectives on news and Liberia's transition to peace. The journal will be available online and will be printed locally beginning in December 2009.

During one of our field trips around Monrovia, we visited a flooded and impoverished seaside neighborhood where one of our workshop participants lives. This visit gave our group a chance to visually confront some of the challenges facing each other's communities, and begin to think how they would like to communicate these stories through documentary photography.

To view the video, click the link below: