Embassy of Liberia Selects KPScholars Program to provide Mentorship to Liberian Youth

Since 1989, Liberia has witnessed two civil wars that have devastated the country socially, economically and politically. The first civil war took place during the 1989–1996 period and the second civil war between 1999–2003; both displaced hundreds of thousands of people and devastated the country's economy. The children of Liberia have suffered to a devastating degree the deprivations enumerated by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, in a report to the UN Security Council on children and armed conflict. "Children continue to be the main victims of conflicts. Their suffering takes many forms. Children are killed, made orphans, maimed, abducted, deprived of education and health care, and left with deep emotional scars and trauma. Forced to flee from their homes, refugees and internally displaced children are especially vulnerable to violence, recruitment, sexual exploitation, disease, malnutrition and death. Children are being recruited and used as child soldiers on a massive scale. Girls face additional risks, particularly sexual violence.”

Annan has also highlighted the importance of responding to the needs of Liberia’s child soldiers with the following remarks "If you do not disarm and reintegrate them into society, if you do not give them prospects for making a decent living, if you do not help recovery and reconstruction, you’re not really going to be able to succeed". The former US Secretary of State Colin Powell added: "These boys and girls have known more horrors in their young lives than anyone, let alone a child, should ever have to endure… We must help these children. If we help these deeply traumatized children to live in hope, then there is hope for all of Liberia".

Liberian children, living in the Republic or the Diaspora, must be given the prospect of an education, vocational training and the opportunity to earn an honest living. Limited opportunities for Liberia’s children have forced them into hazardous and exploitative means of survival such as prostitution, theft and drug-dealing. The challenge to move forward is no different for Liberian youth living in the United States and they face a unique set of hurdles as they have sought refuge—the transition has been filled with many challenges. Often, Liberians have settled in urban communities of lower socio-economic status that are riddled with risk factors that lead to significant negative outcomes for many of the youth who reside within these communities. Changes in the family (read more)

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The Embassy of Liberia selects the KP Scholars Program to address the challenges read more

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