Ambassador JuliEndee, Others Are Women Role Models
-Set to Brighten Liberia’s Image Abroad
-Wins Prestigious Global and Peace and Humanitarian Award in USA
Liberia needs women of substance as role models to continue keeping the flame of female leadership aglow after the exit of Ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s first female president and first winner of the covetous Nobel Price for Peace from the leadership scene after a 12 years stewardship of the state.
If one is to determine who are now Liberia’s top role models during this era of Liberia’s 24th President His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, names that come up would include Liberia’s cultural ambassador JuliEndee, whose contributions to promoting peace and the Liberian culture and engaging traditional leaders in efforts to promote peace is unique in the anal of Liberian history.It is also important to mention the acclaimed female musician Kanvee Adams, Madam MiattaFahnbulleh, another musical, educational and cultural icon. On this list one may also include the President of the University of Liberia Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, among others.
According to several Liberians interviewed across Monrovia, the capital city recently, which is a microcosm of the Liberian society, the choice of Madam JuliEndee, whose latest album entitled ‘Pro-Poor Agenda’ is making a significant impact on Liberia’s musical scene, is not only a musician, but carving for herself a place in Liberian history by blending culture, the arts, music and humanitarian work.
Like former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Madam Endee, whose name are already household words in the Liberian peace, and cultural music business. She recently returned home from the United States with a prestigious award for her humanitarian, musical and cultural works that have touched the lives of many and thus serves as inspirations to other Liberian women.
Liberian women must be mindful that success does not only come out of imagination, but putting every useful imagination into practical realities as ex-President Sirleaf and Madam JuliEndee are doing. In other words Liberian women must strive not to be distracted by challenges, but take advantage of every problem and transform same into opportunities that positively touch upon the lives of the less privileged members of the society.
But we denounce and condemn the present debate in the country centered around an American humanitarian women Miss Katie Meyler, who at her 31st birthday, transformed the concept of transforming into reality a dilapidated and slum part of Monrovia into a modern school for helping underprivileged girls in the Liberian society, should deserve a second thought, if accusations around her is true and not image besmearing campaign.
It is reported that, ‘More Than Me’ (MTM) academy, the name of the school for underprivileged girls founded by Katie Meyler with some support from President Sirleaf, with the good intentions that it should serve as a place reform wayward and underprivileged girls into productive and marketable citizens of society but has been transformed into a haven for prostitution should not be taken lightly.
It is a lesson to others engaged in humanitarian work in the country to be vigilant in ensuring that their works do not be allowed to go out of track. It is possible that the good intentions of people may be carelessly abused discreetly or deliberately by others for reasons of satisfying their personal egos.
It is reported that MTM later became a shining example for others to emulate, as it became a dormitory where girls were learning marketable skills as conceptualized by Madam Meyler. But it was equally thought of as a place where some men can easily go for the raping and sexually abusing of young girls either by one of the known instructors or others unknown that were clandestinely involved in the act.
It has not been established whether the owners of the MTM were facilitators of such malaise, for which the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) and the Liberian National Police (LNP) continue to wage campaigns against.
But if established that such was the undercover motive of establishing the school in the first place, then we view that it will be necessary for government to reinforce as guidelines, the imposition of severe sanctions on proprietors of schools who use their facilities as platforms to encourage sexual abuses: such as prostitution, rapes and assault on our female children to satisfy their selfish ends.
It can be recalled that on October 11, 2018, ‘ProPublica’ and the ‘Times’ Magazines in their publications uncovered a series of rape and sexual abuse cases at the ‘More Than Me’ Academy by the institution’s Co-Founder, Macintosh Johnson, who is said to be in relationship with the Founder of the MTM Katie Mayler.
The articles detailed how Johnson raped several of the girls on the premises of the More Than Me Academy located on Ashum Street in central Monrovia and that Johnson was arrested on June 16, 2014 after Michelle Spada, Program Director of MTM, reported the alleged incidents of rapes to the Police.
Madam Spada learned about the abuse when Iris Martor, the school nurse of MTM, told her five months after keeping quiet when she (Martor) first learned that Johnson was abusing the girls.
Martor told ProPublica that she was scared of her safety and also scared of losing her job as she did not know how Katie Meyler, MTM CEO and Founder was going to handle the situation if she had told her, given that Katie and Johnson were in a relationship.
According to the ProPublica report, Johnson had raped 30 girls before his arrest in 2014.
Johnson reportedly died in prison of AIDS in 2014; something which prompted the management of the institution to conduct HIV tests on Johnson’s victims.
Alexandra Fallon who is the current Chief Executive Officer of the American Charity confirmed to the Liberia News Agency Friday that 10 of the students were confirmed of contracting the virus after being reportedly raped by Johnson.
MTM has since written an open apology on its official website, in which it claimed that it failed the girls by giving Johnson the power that he exploited by abusing the children and staffs at the institution.
According to the founder of MTM, these children were exposed to sexual abuse and exploitation. MTM has over the years reportedly raised more than US$ 8 million for charity, with almost US$600,000 of the amount coming from the United States Government.
It is our hope that the leadership role that Liberian women have been playing over the years must be safeguarded by this generation, rather than derailing it out of track. In the past Liberian men have not only regarded the leadership potentials of women, but have recognized their significant contributions to the political structure of the Liberian society in varying ways, as partners in making decisions in the homes.
Certainly the significant contributions of Liberian women cannot be overemphasized. It is clear that after the declaration of Liberia’s independence, the Liberian Flag was designed by 11 women headed by Susannah Lewis, and in recent times there had also been the appointment of Angie Brooks Randolph as Liberia’s Representative to the United Nations, the famous historian Dr. Doris Banks-Henries, ex-UL President Madam Dr. Antoinette Brown-Sherman, among others.
Surely we want this legacy of excellence that is thriving nowadays as in the past to be appropriately guarded by the present generation rather than abused (By John L. Momoh).