ON A VISIT TO LIBERIA during the earlier part of March, British singer Ed Sheeran lost it when he broke down in tears, hearing the stories of very young boys who sleep in canoes in and sometimes are often sodomized by older boys and men.
THE GRAMMY AWARD WINNING singer visited the country as part of Comic Relief annual fundraising telethon, Red Nose Day, which aired in the UK on Friday March 24.
DURING HIS VISIT TO THE COUNTRY, he met a young boy named JD who, according to US Magazine, lived on the streets of Monrovia, owned one set of clothing and survives on just a cup of water and a piece of water each day.
SHEERAN BECAME AFRAID of leaving the boys alone in the slum, he told viewers.
“Once we’re done here, we’re going to pack up the camera and these guys are going to be sleeping in a canoe with a lot of dangerous people about,” he said.
“I mean, the only thing you can do is help them, which we should.
SHEERAN’S SHOCKING FINDING in the post Ebola country may come as a novelty to him and many in the western world where many things are taken for granted but to many Liberians, it isn’t and just a part of the everyday hustle and bustle of the mundane reality of life.
LIBERIA HAS A MINISTRY OF Gender, Children and Social Protection but with the nonchalant attitude of those at the helm of the Ministry, the case of little JD who won the hearts of the seven times platinum certificated and two times Grammy award winning singer, continues to be abound.
DURING HIS VISIT, SHEERAN also spent some time at a school in the slum community of West Point and there he was also hit by another reality when came across a very young girl who’s in need.
PEACHES, 12, LOST HER FATHER to Ebola and her family can no longer afford to send her to school. Peaches heartbroken story left Sheeran and his crew in a flood of tears when, despite the calamities in her young life, jammed them to song she reminds her of her deceased father.
"IT WAS AT THIS POINT that the reality of Peaches' situation, and many, many kids just like her, hit me really hard,” Sheeran wrote in his diary.
THAT A CELEBRITY’S VISIT would shine light on the humanly created challenges that many children have to go through on a daily basis amid the presence of a Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection should invoke introspection from Minister Julia Duncan-Casell, Police Director Gregory Coleman and Monrovia City Mayor, Clara Doe Mvogo.
THE TRIO HAD LAUNCHED an ill-fated and thought of campaign to rid the country of kids selling on street, printing a glitzy billboard around the Legislature which threatens an arrest of anyone who buy from kids hawking on the street in a bid to stop kids from hawking in the streets.
A 2014 US DEPARTMENT of labor report stated that the Liberian Children law provides for free primary education but in practice many government run schools are short of anything but free.
CHASING CHILDREN FROM hawking in the streets with rattan but not insisting they go to school as per the free and compulsory education policy of the government , while their friends in West Point are sodomized and exposed to the perilous nature of the Atlantic Ocean, leaves us wondering what really are the priorities of the government.
WE HOPE THE COMIC RELIEF gig in the country is not a onetime wonder to raise money in the name of JD and Peaches while they are left squandering in abject poverty amid the nonchalant attitude by the agency whose name was changed to care for them.