by Louise Gray
My name is Louise Worwele Gray. I was born on May 2, 1990 at the Star of the Sea Hospital in the township of WestPoint.
My lovely parents are Mr. Ahmed Gray and Mrs. Lucia Blidi. My father is from Sasstown, Grand Kru County and my mother is from Grandcess, Grand Kru County.
I have one brother one sister from the father side and 3 sisters from my mother side. From all my siblings I am the oldest child.
I am Christian and a Catholic from our lady star of the Catholic Church in West Point.
I started my primary education at the Star of the Sea Catholic School in west point. I went high honor roll every period and was given certificates every year.
When I was promoted to the 5th grade class, I transferred to Saint Teresa Convent High School on Randall Street. It’s an all-girl school. Again I maintained my academy statue and I was always on the honour roll list.
One word I was really fighting to change was “Can Any Good Things Come Out Of West Point”?
I said to myself yes so many good things can come out of West Point and I am going to be among those people that are fighting very hard to change this state or question.
Let me tell you a little about my father. My father is just a high school graduate because he did not have the financial support to continue his education up to university level, so he vowed to fight hard to give his children higher education.
My father was not working but was a Susu man in the community. He so honest that people rather saved money with him then to save with a bank.
Through this Susu business he managed to pay my fees up to the 9th grade. When I was promoted to the 10th grade, the school sends 5 students to FAWE Girls to represent them in essay writing on girl’s education in Liberia. Out of the five students selected only two successfully passed the essay: one Sianneh Tehmeh and I. We were awarded a scholarship up to the 12th grade. I maintained this scholarship with good grades until I got out of high school.
In 2009 after my graduation, my father said I should take the Stella Maris Polytechnic entrance exam. I took the entrance and was awaiting the result so I decided to enroll at the Inter Digital Computer where I earned a certificate in MS Doc, Word Window and Excel.
In February 2010, I enrolled at the Stella Maris Polytechnic as a freshman student. I studied Accounting (major) and Management (minor).
In 2011, my father was knocked down by pressure and was taken from one hospital to another for 6months. Later he became much better but was paralysed and he could not continue the Susu business and could not afford to pay my fees again.
Then I decided to do used clothes business because I never wanted by dreams to die. I started with one (1) bill of house hold materials.
After my classes, I would take the clothes from one community to another to sell and that was how I was able to pay my fees for 3 semesters until I was sent for internship.
I was opportune to do my internship with Starks Foundation Inc. A Health, an NGO which is owned by the CEO, Mr. Gabriel Starks.
Based on my performance, I was employed at Starks Foundation Inc. as the Finance Assistant after my internship program. I graduated with an Associate degree and decided to pursue the BSc degree, too.
During the 2011 elections, Mr. Robert A Sirleaf was offering scholarships to destitute students who had their last semester GPA of 2.5 or above. My GPA was 3.40 so I decided to take advantage of the scholarship.
Something interesting happened: the guy who was heading the scholarship programmed asked that I should give him 75.00 USD for the scholarship! I had no option but to give him the money because the scholarship would last me until I graduate.
My name came out that semester on the scholarship and I fought hard every semester to maintain the required GPA.
That was how I left the used clothes business because I couldn’t be working and selling at the same time.
Starks Foundation was more than an employer to me. They stood for me so many times, during my graduation and even the time I lost my grandfather, they were always willing to open their arms to me.
In 2016 Starks Foundation just ended their 5-year contract with Global Fund. All our activities were on hold and junior staffs were asked to stay home until the company can get another bigger contract. I stayed until June and there was no sign of contract yet so my Boss advised that we could take advantage of other opportunities because we had to sustain our families.
One day I was in a taxi from work and heard a man discussing how MERCY CORPS is helping Liberians through Apprentice program. He said they published lots of vacancies in the classified newspaper every Monday. I decided to get one paper the following Monday and saw that NATC was accepting applicants for book keeping so I decided to take advantage.
After a week, I received call from William from MERCY CORPS who I have not met in person up to present called me and told me to prepare for an interview with the CEO of New Africa Technology company. I had opted out of the Mercy Corps programme because the monthly stipend was too low but William offered to connect me to NATC Management for a direct interview.
The interview went very well and I think the CEO was impressed with my level and professionalism and understanding. She said her main aim of hiring me is to migrate the company’s financial reporting from Excel to QuickBooks. NATC was not able to find an experienced bookkeeper through the Mercy Corps programme but was willing to hire me.
I started work at NATC on of November 1, 2016 as the OFFICE MANAGER. The working environment is good and straightly professional. The CEO is a little bit tough but I think its professional way of during things because we Liberian like to get fire on our backs before we can do things straight.
My greatest aim and objective is to move NATC reporting from Excel to Quick books at least the end of this year or early next year. A Quickbooks expert recommended by me (my ex trainer) has been hired by NATC to set up the system and train me.
Lastly I want to appreciate Starks Foundation Inc., Williams from MERCY CORPS and my present employer NATC for this great opportunity and challenge.