Sonnie Lawrence

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Please briefly describe your business(es) or project(s).
Agents of Positive Change (AOPC) is a non-governmental organization that helps educate, motivate and inspire young people to become great leaders. We have been implementing projects in communities, assisting children in cooperation with both local and international humanitarian organizations. We also work with youth and churches to empower them through capacity-building initiatives, peace-building and transformation. We raise awareness of violence against youth/children by educating the public and by working with community groups, churches and civil society organizations to promote child protection, prevention of violence and rehabilitation of those who have been victims of violence.


What is unique about your business(es) or project(s)?
As part of the larger problem of Liberia having a 67% literacy rate according to the UNICEF 2017 report, the Agents of Positive Change has taken on the responsibility of helping to increase the literacy rate to at least 80% through our intervention at the community level in Johnsonville. Research has proven that out of the 40 schools in Lower Johnsonville Montserrado County, 4 of them have at least a low standard reading room and out of the 100 students that Agents of Positive Change has interacted with, 20% of them have good reading and comprehension skills. This indicates that reading and comprehension is a major problem faced by many children and youths. Kids are unable to read and can barely understand their notes because of the lack of poor learning capacities and facilities.

 

The challenges of reading, researching and having a safe space have been a serious problem for children within my community. With the belief that reading and comprehension form a serious part of the building blocks of an individual's educational process, we are passionate about impacting at least 350 people, 150 of which will be school-going kids, within the period of 1 year.
 

What was your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from reaching out and putting the needs of the people first, especially when it comes to education and job creation for young people.
 

What lessons have you learned throughout your journey?
I have learned to be more determined and focused on reaching my goals in regards to promoting my community organization, Agents of Positive Change.
 

Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?
In order to contribute to the improvement of literacy, the Agents Positive Change has decided to build a public library that will provide solutions to these problems and impact the lives of school going kids, parents and instructors. We have structured a strategy that will include the above mentioned 3 major stakeholders that play a significant role in the upbringing of young people in education.

 

It is proven that the five school days of the week gives teachers 30 hours, which makes them important players for enlightenment, along with the parents/guidance who spent 15 hours after working hours. This means that our programs in teachers' training, capacities-building exercises in ICT, spoken word poetry, book reporting, journaling, spelling bee, quizzing, educational board games and adult literacy, will further the goal that every child in Johnsonville will be able to read and understand in our safe space. Nevertheless, APOC is also proving trained external staff in childhood development as support staff to every school that have a reading room.
 

How can people see and support your work?
The Agents Positive Change Website: https://apochange.wordpress.com/

Check out some photos of Sonnie's work below: