Child Sponsor Liberia
Liberia, with its population of some three and a half million people, epitomises the failure of an
independent state. It is as though everything that
could go wrong has gone wrong and, once again, it is the people who are denied a
meaningful existence or future due to the greed and authoritarianism of its
rulers, all the more ironic as Liberia was founded by former American and
Caribbean slaves seeking a new free way of life.
Today Liberia reflects on a
fourteen year long civil war in which 250,000 lives were lost, its infrastructure destroyed, 83.7% of its population
living below the recognised poverty threshold and 111 out of every 1000 children
dying before their fifth birthday.
Life expectancy overall is just 45 years and
employment is just 15% of the population, the world's third highest unemployment
rate. As such Liberia is in 174th place out of
186 countries and territories in 2013 when ranked in terms of life expectancy,
literacy, access to knowledge and the living standards of a country. Healthcare is also a cause of
concern for children in Liberia with just 40 doctors
and 50 nurse midwives for its entire population. There are some 1,878,000 children
living in Liberia, with an astonishing 340,000 of them orphaned
during the Liberia civil war or by AIDS.
All teenage children living in Liberia today were effected by
the civil war. 87% had seen a
family member killed, 60% had seen other children beaten to
death whilst 84% reported that they had experienced being
"surrounded by, lying underneath or stepping on" dead bodies. As
one girl reminisced "When I close my eyes, all I can see is the
war. I often think about taking my own life."
Many children in Liberia who were used as child soldiers ended up
on the streets after the war ended with no families or homes to
return to, and during one recent exercise to assess the extent of
street children, one child as young as four was found. Child sponsor programs in Liberia focus on access to safe water,
health and education resources as well as caring for orphaned or
abandoned children and rehabilitating former child soldiers. You can help when
you sponsor a child in Liberia.