September 19, 2017: This week’s Rotary speaker was Quanuquanei A. Karmue , better known as “Q”. Q is the driving force behind Save More Kids, an organization he formed from the inspiration of his mother and a prayer she made while facing near execution while fleeing civil war-torn Liberia with her five children. Her prayer was that if she lived she would devote her life to saving her country. As his mother’s executioner’s were preparing to end her life they paused as they saw Q and his siblings and allowed his mother to live. After fleeing to the US to rejoin with Q’s father the family returned to Liberia years later and adopted 44 children, raising and educating them.
Q told our club of this story and the ties between Liberia and Charleston. He explained that Liberia was actually founded by freed slaves from Charleston in 1846, which gives him a special attraction to Charleston. He attended SCAD and following in his parents footsteps devoted his life to making Liberia a better place through a self-sufficient and sustainable developmental enterprise under the direction of his Save More Kids organization. The organization runs the Rubber Tree project which plants and harvests rubber from the trees as a tool to provide an economic base for hundreds of Liberians. The rubber trees provide 400 seasonal jobs and employ 15 full-time staff members. Their goal is to plant 125,000 trees in four years and they have already planted 37,000 trees. Once they reach the maximum goal he estimates they will have annual revenue of $4 million with an impact to over 500,000 people over 30 years. The model is designed to help Liberians to gain independence from poverty. To date, they have acquired over 100 acres of land. Q’s goal is to cut out the middle man by establishing their own nursery, which will reduce costs and allow them to diversify by adding palm trees. Save More Kids and the Rubber Tree Project are seeking a $45,000 Rotary Grant which will help them reach the $75,000 goal they need to start the nursery.
Save More Kids has five initiatives:
- Rubber Tree Project
- Orphanage to provide education to the children
- Relief Project which provides food and supplies
- Pennies for Possibilities Education Initiative to build schools
- Period Project which provides menstrual pads and female health education to young girls.
Together with his wife, Q’s hope is that Save More Kids will fix the problems in Liberia through a three-pronged approach:
- Empower young people by meeting them where they are; being visible and connected with their life.
- Mentor their hearts, connecting their minds to open their eyes to the problems that continue to cripple their environment, and future.
- Provide them with the resources they need so that they will become a viable solution to the problems threating their communities!
— Steve Coe, Keyway Committee