*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 Ebola epidemic and its immediate social and economic fall out has now become a major priority. While the threat has subsided, it has far from disappeared. Schools have recently reopened and we are working hard to help families and children get back to their education. Given the extreme need and Lifting Liberia’s commitment to our children’s health – believing that healthy children make successful students – we have also taken on efforts to help children orphaned and/or displaced by the epidemic to find shelter and support so that they too can return to their education.
The situation has been dire with the country quickly reaching almost a thousand fatalities in the span of a few months. While the the epidemic has been brought under control, new cases continue to emerge and the threat of a resurgence is always in sight. Schools have reopened and the people of Liberia are struggling to pick up the pieces the panic has left behind.
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 and its effects have been put to rest. The future stability and safety of Liberia, West Africa, and the world depends on our response to Ebola today.
What We are Doing to Help
Lifting Liberia has completed a mission to transport badly needed medical and relief supplies to the people of Liberia. With the help of donations were were able to provide necessities for children and families who’s lives have been affected by the epidemic. For more information on the latest work, please see our Latest News.
We are also currently working with government ministers and orphanages to help set up transition housing for children who have be orphaned by Ebola. Right now, many children have been abandoned and left on the street, ostracized from friends and family because of fear of the disease. Transition housing will give these children a safe place to stay while they are screened for Ebola. They can then be found proper housing with family relations or in foster homes.
What You Can Do
$20 is enough to feed a child for an entire month. Lifting Liberia is unique in that the vast majority of donated funds go directly to helping the people of Liberia, not administrative salaries and fees. Everyday we work with real people in communities throughout the country to ensure they are getting the kind of help they need most. Please consider donating today!
We are also looking for the donation of a four wheel drive vehicle to increase Lifting Liberia’s access to remote areas that are in need the most, and for aiding in transporting orphans and those affected by Ebola to safe places.
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