By; Jerromie S. Walters
Sinkor, Liberia: The Government of Liberia US$13.8M project of reclaiming at-risk youths off the streets of Liberia has begun with a caution to parents for a proactive disciplinary measures to children, inorder to reduce wayward kids.
Pres George M. Weah over the weekend encouraged Liberian parents to be more proactive as to how they go about disciplining their children, especially instances when they appear to be going wayward.
He believes that every family has a responsibility to their children, as such; parents should not allow their children be vulnerable in the streets even if they insist, as it has the propensity to expose them to the worse life many at risk youths are entrapped into already.
President Weah made the disclosure during the weekend, while speaking to scores of reporters at the Invincible Sports Park, following a one day sporting activities featuring a team representing the Government of Liberia against the One UN System’s team, which was led by Amb. Niels Scott, the UN Resident Coordinator in Liberia, as well as At-Risk-Youths.
The sporting activities was part of the eradication and reclaiming process of at risk youths off the streets inorder to have them rehabilitated, and empowered by the government of Liberia.
The Liberian leader however attributed the increase in the number of at risk youths on the streets of Monrovia, to the attitude of parents to allow children have their own way and act anyhow.
“Every family has a responsibility to their children. Whenever our children leave us, we don’t care, but by now I think we need to teach our kids. When we were growing up, I lived with my grandmother, when I go to community that I’m not supposed to be or I stay longer time, just to sleep out, they will come for me and they will teach me a lesson, today most of our parents when the kids leave them they say ok, go that’s your business,” he said.
The President also asserted that parents are allowing their children be really too vulnerable and taking decisions for themselves, noting that it often gets complicated when they are addicted to harmful substances.
“If you allow it to be their business, peer pressure will lead them to what you are seeing today, taking marijuana and what have you, so we are responsible enough, as parents we need to make sure that everywhere our children go, we should follow them and bring them back and teach them a lesson,” he noted.
However, President Weah expressed his government’s willingness to help in eradicating from the streets and rehabilitating the at-risk youths, but further asserted that it also requires the efforts of parents and guardians to ensure that it does not go beyond what it is today.
He called on Liberians with expertise in vocational skills to join the process in serving as facilitators in the 13 different skills training for the at-risk youths.
The Liberian leader further disclosed that of some of his international friends who have expressed interest in constructing a facility in Liberia for at-risk youths, which he believed is in concurrence with the government’s ongoing reclaiming process that is being led by the Ministry of Youths and Sports.
In an effort to tackle challenges facing the at risk youths, the Government has set up an Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee, headed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, that will work with international partners in order to ensure that the socioeconomic challenges and potential national security risk posed by vulnerable youths are addressed.
On Thursday, June 23, 2022, the Steering Committee headed by the Minister of Youths and Sports, along with some At-Risk-Youths,
highlighted the stages of the rehabilitation programs of government and its partners, at MICAT’s regular Press Briefing, which was held at the Pelham Building on Center Street.
However, the Government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, along with Development Partners, will on June 30, 2022, host the national fund drive intended to raise US$13.8 million for the rehabilitation and empowerment of the growing number of at-risk-youth in the country, who are otherwise referred to as Zogos.
At the same time, Youth and Sports Minister Hon. D. Zeogar Wilson who is also the Chairman of the Steering Committee, is calling on the Business Community, Civil Society, friends of Liberia, and Liberians both home and abroad to join the Government and its development partners to help raise the targeted amount to kick start the implementation of the rehabilitation and skills-based training, as well as economic empowerment of At-Risk-Youth in the country.