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By Abraham M. Keita, VI

Liberia is a West African and post-war recovering country with a population of nearly four (4) million people, and about two million of whom are children. This country (Liberia) went through fourteen (14) years of devastated civil war, which killed thousands of people; majority of which were children.

This brutal and satanic civil war left many children psychosocially affected and disabled. During the unconscious civil war, children were the most vulnerable, tortured and regrettably killed. The future leaders (children) of post-war Liberia were used as soldiers/rebels at battlefronts, and our sisters (girls) and mothers (women) became prostitutes and sex-slaves to evil men who were at that time heroes of the war.

 

History reminds us that hundreds of girls and women were raped and many boys and men were sodomized forcefully. Hopefully, it is my belief and thinking that this noble country (Liberia) will not return to war only if the governments invests in its future generation or children.

 

I concisely but most importantly wrote this note to let Liberia and the world know of the hopeless conditions the children of Liberia are going through peacefully but unacceptable:

 

  • A Government that fails to invest in its children is a failed government. Investing in children is not only limited to building more public schools, which this government has not done, but providing qualified teachers and facilities. Investing in children is not only to build hospitals, but to provide free-medical services towards the promotion of a healthy generation. This government has failed in these areas. Also, every government provides good educational facilities for pupils and students in high schools and universities/colleges or mounts pressure on private schools to do so, but this is not the case in Liberia.

 

  • A Government that fails to build technical and vocational institutions for young people is a failed government. Technical education helps eradicate poverty, especially when children are in their adulthood, the may be able to generate incomes for themselves and the state, thereby curtailing some economic duties of the government. Tailoring, sewing, mechanics, and operating computers are technical skills or education.

 

  • With the many concession agreements; abundant natural resources like gold, diamond, oil and other minerals, the Government has failed to provide scholarships to vulnerable or street children or even to children who parents are poverty-oriented. Instead, government officials are giving scholarships to their family members, relatives and friends. The Ministry of Education is

 

dormant in educating or helping children to achieve quality and compulsory primary education. It is serving the rich families/institutions and has forgotten about the poor.

 

  • A Government that does not allocate money in its national budget for Children?s Development and Empowerment is a government of failure.

 

  • A Government without Plan of Action for its children is a failed government. An Action Plan for Children is a plan that identifies issues relating to children, their well-being and how those issues can be curtailed. This plan spears-out how the livelihoods or living conditions of children should be in an identified or certain period of time.

 

Children are the future leaders and precious jewels of a nation, and our actions today are very fundamental in shaping the destiny of their future tomorrow. Whilst it is true and important that the youth of a nation need to be empowered, but it is firstly important to develop and empower children, because if the children are not empowered there will be no good youth.

 

The Government has failed in its responsibilities, and these are my recommendations:

  • Provide free health/medical systems or facilities for children?s well-being ? (children hospital).

 

  • Free, quality and compulsory primary education for children as it was signed and said by the government in the Education Reform Act of 2011, the Liberian Children?s Law, and the United Nations Millennium Development Goal number 2 ? (Universal Free and Compulsory Primary Education for children), which the Government has failed to do.

 

  • Providing save or alternative homes for orphans or street children.

 

  • Eradicating child labour, which the Ministry of Labour has failed to do and without sending social workers in the streets for this sole purpose. Thousands of children are labouring in the streets, instead of being in schools and other institutions of learning.

 

  • Build institutions around the country that will host and render services to mental-health or psychiatric children that is, children who are mad and in the streets.

 

The children of Liberia must now be cognizant of the fact that despite of the huge funding/money that government receives from donors like UNICEF, Plan International, Save the Children International and others, which results into millions of dollars for the promotion of children, the government has achieved nothing in bringing smiles back to the faces of the Liberian children. ?A NATION THAT FAILS TO INVEST IN CHILDREN IS BOUND TO FALL?.

 

With the many initiatives undertaken or sponsored by international partners, such as the National Anti-Rape Campaign, the National Birth Registration Campaign, and many more, the government remains stagnantand will continue to be, because it lacks the ability to implement, and which, the children consider as a complete weakness on the part of the government, and which is causing policies to not be vigorously implemented.

 

I also want to get Liberia and the global village acquainted that, in the education system of Liberia, already termed by the President as a ?mess?, ?????? WHY SHOULD GAMBLING/BETTING BE LEGALIZED?

The move by the government to have legalized two gambling companies ? WINNERS INCORPORATED and PREMIUM INCORPORATED, placed a serious threat and non-advancement in the education sector. Students and teachers, young and elders are now focused on gambling. The gambling tickets are carried to class rooms by students and teachers. Many people play the gambling games with the hope that they will win huge sum of money. While it is true that older people have the right to gamble, but it is equally forbidden for youngsters especially children doing school hours. It was devastating and aggravating for the government to have accepted gambling companies and without a set of rules. So, I do feel that this current government that consists of the ruling political party and opposition political parties has been the caused for which the education system of Liberia is being viewed national and internationally as a complete mess.

 

With these being written in this article, I am with the conviction that the world will help us in our problems, because we are in total fragility.

(LIBERIA IS ALL WE HAVE AND WE WILL NOT LET IT BE DESTROYED AS LIBERIANS)

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