“My passion for youth professional development and digital literacy is to provide youth opportunities that I never had in my early childhood, and to help prepare them for the 21st- century competition,” says YALI alumnus Jeremiah Cooper.
Jeremiah was born in Biahplay, a town between Liberia and the Ivory Coast. His childhood experience was rich in culture and tradition, but his environment was challenging when it came to education.
“My experience growing up as a youth in post-war Liberia is something I don’t want other children to have. The post-war youths of Liberia grew up almost with no opportunities for professional development or access to digital spaces,” he says.
Jeremiah decided he wanted to help the youth in his community. Today, he is the founder of New Breed Tech Hub, a space that provides digital integration and classroom training for teachers and youth in Liberia.
Jeremiah uses his technology center to strategize and plan youth professional development events. Earlier this year, he held YALILearns session for the SHE-CAN scholarship program.
“During some events, we work closely with some high schools to send students to participate. We also do outreach in our community and sometimes we use the local community radio stations to recruit participants. We mostly used relevant resources approved or recommended for each event,” he says.
Jeremiah feels he has a social responsibility to contribute to the positive change he wants to see in his community. But with that responsibility comes challenges.
“The major challenge I face is financial sponsors. I’m running a startup which is badly impacted by the epidemics. Not having financial sponsors poses a huge challenge in continuation to engage with youths in our community,” he says.
“Many of the youths coming to our lab don’t have access to the internet at home, [so] we use the course materials on the YALILearns USB drive we got from the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia to have them do their courses offline and go online to do the quiz to earn their certificates.”
Jeremiah does not stop there. His future goals involve reaching a large-scale audience.
“My future goal is to have a modern digital mobile space that will enable my team to reach out to more youth in the [Economic Community of West African States] region. Empowering youth with digital literacies skills they need to compete in the 21st-century workplaces and digital integration into the classroom training for teachers to enhance their skills for smooth technologies integration into the classroom.”