As Ebola concerns rose in late summer, Randolph-Macon Academy’s cadre students in the Air Force JROTC program decided that they wanted to do something to help. Through one of their Air Force JROTC instructors, MSgt Stephen Pederson, the students learned of a sanitary project being spearheaded by Liberia Orphan Education Project (LOEP), which is based in Browntown, VA. Through the program, LOEP places hand washing stations in public places, such as schools, marketplaces, and churches.
The Randolph-Macon Academy cadets went to work during registrations, setting up a table and explaining to their fellow students and their families the importance of the hand washing stations. Through these efforts, the cadre successfully raised $600 to help LOEP place hand-washing stations in Liberia. On Monday, September 29, 2014, co-founder and board president Elizabeth Iden visited the Academy to accept the funds on behalf of LOEP.
|Randolph-Macon Academy senior Doug Brennand (left) and junior Taylor Jones (right) present Liberia Orphan Education Project co-founder and board chair Elizabeth Iden (center) with the check representing the funds raised by the Air Force JROTC cadre.
“We very much appreciate your interest and your support of children in West Africa,” Iden told the students just prior to the presentation. She explained to the students that people in west or central Africa do not have plumbing or water treatment facilities. As a result, the water used in most African households is usually from streams or rivers, or shallow wells, making it likely to carry contaminants such as germs. African families, out of necessity, have become used to water-borne illnesses, she said.
“Ebola has changed this situation drastically,” Iden said. “Ebola virus is much more gruesome and deadly than the usual water-borne illnesses. It’s contagious, it’s deadly, and people know it has to be stopped.”
The stations consist of water jugs and bleach, which Iden said is the only known way to kill the Ebola virus. LOEP is primarily an educational organization, and so with each station, volunteer teachers explain the importance of clean water and clean hands, and teach the people how to use the hand-washing station.
“Your donation, that we receive today from the cadre, will provide enough hand-washing stations and bleach water sanitizer for 25 to 30 schools in rural Liberia,” she said. “Schools with as many as 200 students have no hand-washing facilities at all. You can do the math to figure out how important this donation is to so many children.”
For more information on LOEP’s Handwashing Hygiene Project, visit http://www.loeproject.org/HandwashingHygiene.html.
Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA), founded in 1892, is a college-preparatory, coeducational day and boarding school for students in grades 6 through 12. Students in grades 9-12 participate in R-MA’s 91st Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) and have the option to participate in a flight program. R-MA is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is located in Front Royal, VA.