Human Rights Activists Says Education is the Key to West Africa’s Future
Lawyer Tim Bowles reports on the progress of his African Literacy Campaign to those attending a human rights seminar at the Church of Scientology Pasadena.
Over recent decades, West Africa has been one of the most challenged regions on Earth according to African Literacy Campaign founder Tim Bowles. He aims to prevent a repeat of humanitarian disasters that have plagued the region. He is doing so in coordination with Applied Scholastics International, a secular nonprofit dedicated to broad implementation of learning tools researched and developed by author, educator and Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Bowles spoke of how illiteracy fueled the hatred, fear and bloodthirsty revenge that marked Liberia’s coup d’etat 1979-80, its 14 years of genocidal civil war 1989–2003, and 11 years of savage conflict in neighboring Sierra Leone (1991–2002).
“This is a region notorious for child soldiers,” he said. He spoke of boys as young as 7 or 8 who are molded into mindless killing machines, as graphically portrayed in the motion picture Beasts of No Nation (2015).
“The decades since peace have seen West Africa battered by Ebola and COVID pandemics. It remains one of the most impoverished zones of our modern world,” he says.
In collaboration with Liberian Joseph Jay Yarsiah and many community leaders, Bowles has worked in the region for 17 years to improve conditions against tremendous odds.
“The African Literacy Campaign aims to create and sustain an effective education movement,” Bowles said. Its purpose is to equip emerging generations with competent, courageous leadership to see West Africa arise from such repeated humanitarian disasters. They carry out the campaign in coordination with Applied Scholastics International, which Bowles describes as “an organization uniquely qualified to offer the solution to illiteracy through the proven effective learning methods of American author and innovator L. Ron Hubbard, widely known as ‘Study Technology’ or ‘Study Tech.’”
Bowles described the campaign’s most recent delivery of Study Technology at Liberia’s Cuttington University, the oldest degree-granting institution in sub-Saharan Africa. They also introduced the program to teachers and administrators of the Ghana Education Service.
To illustrate its effectiveness, Bowles shared an example of the impact of the program on participants.
“There is no greater reward as a teacher than to see a student, after struggling with a subject, start to click with understanding and ability to apply. Yet, until this Applied Scholastics seminar, I have carried a near-overwhelming sense that I have been failing my students in achieving this joy of learning. No longer. Mr. Hubbard has observed that it is only lack of know-how that causes a person to fall short of his dreams. With this introduction to Study Technology and new-found confidence, I now possess the means to connect my dedication with ability to turn on that light of learning in those for whom I am responsible.” K.W.
“Such outcomes are the real ‘pay’ of this work,” said Bowles. “The progress we continue to make with the African Literacy Campaign yet again confirms there is no greater force in our world than that reflected in the human spirit.”
In 2006, along with many courageous and inspired West African youth leaders, Bowles created the African Human Rights Leadership Campaign of Youth for Human Rights International, activating thousands of youth of the region as human rights educators who taught others by example and deed.
He eventually recognized the necessity of addressing the state of the region through education. Bowles and his team now focus on Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
- “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.”
Bowles believes that only through an effective literacy and education movement—equipping emerging generations with competent, courageous leadership—can West Africa emerge from the wars, corruption and disasters that have plagued the region for so long.
The Church of Scientology Pasadena holds open house events, conferences and seminars on issues of interest to and affecting the community. An Ideal Scientology Organization dedicated in July 2010 by Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige, the Church of Scientology Pasadena is featured in an episode of Destination: Scientology on the Scientology Network.
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The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.
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