A youth based local nongovernmental organization, Arise Impact Initiative-Liberia (RII-Liberia), has embarked on a humanitarian journey to address the rising challenges facing vulnerable youth and children, particularly street children and orphans in the country and seek to increase support to them as a way of enhancing and augmenting the efforts of the national government when it launched its project dubbed, “Initiative Restore Hope” last Friday, February 25, 2022, at the Monrovia City Hall.
Speaking at the program which was well attended by top government officials, guests from the UN System, civil society groups, educational institutions, student groups, among others, Executive Director, Miss Wilnet Gaye, told participants that the vision of the organization is to see children and young people particularly those surviving under vulnerable conditions to live a fulfilling normal life where they can measure and compete academically with their colleagues at better level of society.
According to Miss Gaye, ARII seeks to promote the well-being and rights of young people, most of whom are in vulnerable and marginalized circumstances in the society, adding “we operate with the principle ‘Humanity beyond social divide’.” “In alignment with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 which seeks to ensure equal access to quality and entrepreneurial education and innovation, our work spans across various domains to uplift young people and communities across the country through education, capacity development and other initiatives”, she said.
She said Liberian children have been victims of the civil war and the health pandemics that afflicted the country leaving most children to lose either one or both parents thereby placing them in vulnerable circumstances with little or no care and support, noting “even some children with parents are also being faced with hopelessness, distress and loss of future due to hardships in the country.” As a result, most parents and children are striving to live using every means possible with children up to 10 years of age being involved in heinous activities such as street selling, car loading and daily crushing of rocks.
“Although the nation boasts of its demographic dividend, lack of education and other opportunities for children creates disparities and intergenerational gaps in society which eventually increases the potential risks to society’s development, peace and stability in the future,”, she said.
According to ARII-Liberia, the project will cater to the 2nd cohort of 100 beneficiaries in Montserrado and Margibi Counties who will be enrolled in schools and have their tuition and other necessary school supplies covered. There will also be an enhanced mentorship training program which was previously established for cohort 1 beneficiaries for an opportunity in providing guidance and training in different areas such as career counseling, health and hygiene and skills development.
Also speaking at the occasion, Honorable Erol Madison Gwion Sr, Representative of District who launched the project lauded the vision of Miss Gaye whom he referred to as his daughter having known her from birth in the Liberian refugee camp in Ghana and has steadily followed the progress she has been making over the years. He said he was passionate about the objectives of the young people who have decided to render services to some of young people just as they for the benefit of the growth and development of the society and country,
“For a long time, Liberia has been known for the wrong reasons in some instances, apparently due to the aftereffects of the civil war and so when we see young people developing a positive attitude towards the betterment of the country, we should not hesitate to identify with them. I can assure you of my maximum support towards your program”, the tough talking lawmaker said.
He made his initial contribution of USD1,500 towards the project and urged members of the organization to always count on him for support.
ARII-Liberia is a duly registered NGO in Liberia established by young college students from various tertiary institutions in Liberia. The organization was created in 2015 and has since been rendering services to Liberian children in humanitarian interventions. In 2020, ARII-Liberia sought, among others, to buttress the government’s effort in increasing awareness on prevalent cases of major diseases affecting communities and in 2021 provided basic educational supplies and food to over 25 orphans in Monrovia and Lower Margibi County.