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Nearly a million children in Liberia go through life on a daily basis just trying to survive, finding their way alone, neglected, malnourished, impoverished, and uneducated. Lifting Liberia’s goal is to make education a right not a luxury for these children believing education is the key to ending the cycle of poverty and suffering.
The Children of Liberia
After 14 years of violence and civil war, Liberia was left facing huge challenges for recovery. Liberia’s public education system was particularly devastated by the conflict. In 2007, UNICEF estimated that at least 50% of Liberia’s schools were destroyed and many more were in dire need of repair.
It’s a painful reflection for Liberians as they recall this 14 year long civil war in which 250,000 lives were lost. This is staggering considering its small population of around 3.8 million.
The conflict left the country’s infrastructure destroyed and with 83% of its population living below the poverty line. The unemployment rate stands at 85% and the literacy rate at 52%.
Over 500,000 children in Liberia are not in school. UNICEF says, of those enrolled in school, 42% of them sit on the bare floor without desks or properly trained teachers to provide appropriate instructions and there are no adequate books with which to learn. Poverty, lack of hygiene facilities or clean water, few materials, teenage pregnancy, and poorly trained professionals, are just some the challenges facing both the children and young adults today in Liberia.
But the situation is not hopeless! The government of Liberia has made rebuilding education a top priority, and through our work we hope to aid in lifting Liberia out of poverty by supporting its most vulnerable citizens, its children and young women.
Lifting Liberia’s programs are designed to address the various challenges facing the children, girls, and young adults of Liberia attempting to pursue an education in the aftermath of civil war. We provide scholarships, supplies, and training to not only overcome barriers to education, but to strengthen communities and create sustainable changes at both the personal and communal level.
One of Lifting Liberia’s focuses is on the unique challenges facing young women and girls. Currently, Liberia has one of the fastest growing populations in the world, and has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy. Our Girl’s enrichment Program is designed to address these issues by removing the various barriers to young women attending school, and by increasing access to health and sexual education services.
Lastly, Lifting Liberia prides itself on a grassroots approach to solving the problem of poverty in Liberia. We emphasize solidarity, not just charity in our programs. Working with all levels of the Liberian Government, local tribes and community leaders, as well as maintaining close relationships with the individuals and families we support is a top priority.
There’s still a long way to go toward making sure that every child is able to get a quality education in Liberia. However, with the support of Lifting Liberia and its donors, children are beginning to get the opportunities they need to become champions of recovery in Liberia.
Watch this Great Video – music by Jaime Thiettin
Song by Jaime Thiettin