Serving disadvantaged communities in West Africa by empowering local leaders who have a positive humanitarian vision for their community.
This blog maps the evolution of the organization's vision through the thoughts, experiences, and collaborative projects of our team. Visit GroundUpGlobal.org for more information and how you can help!
“It takes a lot of people doing little things to make change happen.” - Dr. Alfred Curtis
Staten Island, New York hosts the largest population of Liberians in the US, and SILCA is the primary governing body for this community. Last night GroundUp Global had the privilege of attending the Inaugural Ball for the newly elected Staten Island Liberian Community Association (SILCA) leadership. The community celebrated and honored their first woman president, Mrs. Oretha Bestman-Yates, with speeches, dinner, and dancing.
SILCA President Oretha Bestman-Yates
Bestman invited Camilla Hermann, GroundUp Global’s executive director, to speak on behalf of the Liberian refugees on the Buduburam camp in Ghana. Hermann asked for the support of the Staten Island community in raising funds necessary to transport the unregistered refugees back to Liberia.
“The unregistered Liberian refugees need the help of their friends, family, and compatriots to return home. Each day the struggle for survival grows harder - as President Bestman said so eloquently, unity is fundamental to progress. Without your help, this amazing opportunity of homecoming for the Liberians in Ghana would be impossible. It is only through many people contributing their small portion that we will succeed in transporting the Liberian refugees home. And when we succeed, we will have accomplished something no other community has been able to do.”
The Liberian Market Women performing a dance and song
In her inaugural address, Bestman said, “To approach the community, you have to love that community.” She added, “I am ready to serve you. My doors are open to you.” Having worked previously as the Vice President of SILCA, Bestman is in the unique position of being able to build on and expand her past accomplishments within the community. For example, the hall in which the Inaugural Ball was held, in addition to the new administrative offices, are all credits to Bestman and her team. At GroundUp Global, we look forward to deepening our partnership with SILCA. There is serious work to be done, and together we can accomplish more than any one of us can do alone.