*UPDATE: EBOLA CRISIS IN LIBERIA*
Please note that while Lifting Liberia’s mission is to help bring education to the disadvantaged young people of Liberia, the growing Ebola epidemic has now become a major priority. Schools are closed, people and doctors are dying, and the country now faces its greatest threat to stability since the civil war.
The situation is dire with the country quickly reaching almost a thousand fatalities in the span of a few months. More and more cases are springing up and health officials are describing the situation as ‘out of control.’ At this point there have been more cases of Ebola in this outbreak than in all others combined. Not only have schools been closed, but entire neighborhoods have been quarantined, and people are in panic.
Perhaps the worst victims are the newly orphaned children Ebola has left behind. According to UNICEF over 3,700 children have lost one or both parents to the disease. These children are stigmatized and shunned as being possible outbreak threats. In a culture that is deeply superstitious these aftereffects may last for years.
Lifting Liberia recognizes that no progress can be made until this epidemic has been put to rest. The future stability and safety of Liberia, West Africa, and the world depends on our ability to help get Ebola under control.
What We are Doing to Help
Lifting Liberia is working to secure badly needed medical supplies to help get the outbreak under control. Right now the country has been all but quarantined, and it is difficult to get anything in or out. This includes not only medical equipment and personnel, but food and resources as well.
In the coming weeks we will be transporting what supplies commercial airlines will allow into the country. In the meantime we are looking to raise emergency funds to help buy food and supplies for struggling families as prices begin to soar and people are kept from their jobs. We are also working with other organizations to help provide resources like food and shelter for children orphaned by Ebola.
$20 is enough to feed a child for an entire month. We are hoping to raise enough funds to feed 200 children so please consider a donation today!
Go here for a FOX13 interview with Lifting Liberia founder Karen Mathot on the Ebola crisis. For more information, and to learn how you can help, also see our post in Latest News “Help Us Fight Ebola.”
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.
Please consider donating today. Click the button on the top right side to get started. Thank you!
Watch this Great Video – music by Jaime Thiettin
Song by Jaime Thiettin