EU Ambassador to Liberia visits SOS
-Holds Palava Hut discussion with 10 Girls.
The Head of European Union Delegation to Liberia, Her Excellency Madam Hélène Cavé and entourage on October 11th, visited SOS Children’s Villages Liberia, where Upon her arrival, the EU Diplomat was presented a bouquet of flowers by six-year old Caroline Fahn from House five of the Monrovia Children’s Village.
The National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Liberia, Mr. Augustine A. Allieu welcomed the Ambassador and her entourage and took them to the National Office conference room where a brief PowerPoint presentation of SOS’ work in Liberia was presented, with all National Office staff in attendance.In his remarks, Mr. Allieu thanked the Ambassador on behalf of the SOS staff, adding that “often Ambassadors only meet government officials and other diplomats, but I am glad that on this International Day of the Girl Child you left your busy schedule to interact with these adolescent girls at the SOS.
“I thank the staff of both the EU and SOS for all efforts made prior to this meeting and we are looking forward to a productive visit,’Allieu said while stressing that Liberia’s SOS Children’s Villages has a great desire to enhance the life of young people and families.
He noted that SOS Children’s Villages Liberia is open to partnerships that would increase its work, including Family Strengthening Program in communities. He hoped that some partners can assist the organization to support some of the facilities and programs,
Mr. Allieu concluded on the point that SOS Children’s Villages programmes are implemented in line with the UNCRC, UN Guidelines on Alternative Care, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the Government of Liberia policies on care and social protection of children and families.
The staff meeting with the Ambassador in the conference room was followed by an interactive discussion with 10 girls from the SOS-Hermann Gmeiner International School Monrovia as part of activities in observance of International Day of the Girl Child.
The interaction which focused on challenges faced by Liberian girls was well-rounded, healthy and effective. The one hour “Palava Hut” discussion took place in the garden at the back of the National Office.
Meanwhile the girls used the occasion to discuss some of the problems girls and women are faced with in Liberia. Life is not often easy for young Liberians. It has been 3 years since the outbreak of the deadly Ebola crisis, many communities and families are still struggling. Poverty is rampant, school enrolment rates are low and adolescent pregnancy rates are high. Although basic education is considered a free commodity, it is still not easily accessible for many young girls living in Liberia.
Bendu Howard of grade 7 noted, “Society must strive to educate young people regardless of their sex or where they were born. She concluded that gone are those days when people thought women were only meant for kitchen.” While Korpu Freeman of grade 8 lamented, I never entered school until I came to SOS Children’s Village. Now here I am, I hope others can have such an opportunity. But some are forced to marry at an early age and become, a vegetable farmer in the same village.”
Tarwon M. Wei, a student of grade 9 lamented “even though we see ourselves going to school every morning, there are many children out there who lacks the opportunities we enjoy. Therefore, it is critically important that society must create enabling environments to ensure that education is provided for every young person.”
Assata Kroma, a student in grade 11 lamented that “empowering young girls will not only give them self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth but it brings with it relevant economic benefits to them and their families.” While Yonnie Lloyd, a senior student added “when a girl earns her education, she is most likely to help her community to make a difference.”
Other prevalent issues that are of grave concern, and discussed in the Palava Hut meeting include: Gender Based Violence; rape; Sexual exploitation; the lack of marketable vocational and technical skills; illiteracy; and lack of equal opportunity.
Liberia’s young population is one of the nation’s most valuable assets. Taking into consideration that the majority of country’s population is youthful, with many of them are females.
Ambassador Cavégave examples of her life experiences to encourage and challenge the girls to aspire for success despite the many difficulties. Theambassador noted “all over the world it is difficult for girls to achieve her dreams in a male dominant society.” She encourage the girls to be strong and focus, adding “life is a fight and never give up the fight.”