British Charity Identifies 100K Orphans In Liberia In Dire Need of Food, Clean Water
Monrovia – Over 100,000 orphans in Liberia are in dire need of aid as they currently have no access to clean water, food and cannot meet their basic needs, according to a recent assessment by The Akhirah Team, a UK based charity.
The Akhirah Team has been working with a local charity, Vision for Liberia Inc., to discover the number of orphans that have been abandoned, causing them to live in extremely poor conditions.
“These Orphans cannot meet their basic needs although they have shelter this is in extremely poor condition and of a very low standard,” said Aihtsham Rashid, head of The Akhirah Team, who was seen visibly upset during the tour of orphanages in six counties of Liberia.
While assessing the orphanages, Mr. Rashid praised women who are catering for orphans, describing them as “hero’s due to the level of care they provide kids with even though they have very little resources at their disposal.”
These children are under threat daily as they are varied in age. There are boys and girls and they are very vulnerable in the current environment they are, according to the assessment report.
Two back-to-back civil wars and the Ebola outbreak contributed to the surge in the number of orphans in the country.
Mr. Rashid, who toured the orphanages along with his colleague Sadaat Malik and heads of Vision for Liberia, says he’s concerned about how “the world has abandoned these children who have no one to support them or to offer help to them”.
He said the Akhirah Team now sees helping these orphans as “their mission” and will work along with Vision for Liberia, who is the charity on the ground currently working in Liberia, to make sure they provide and implement a solution which will assist the orphans to become self-sufficient.
Rashid arrived in Monrovia to conduct an assessment of over 20 orphanage homes in six counties in order to provide support for them. They toured orphanages in Grand Bassa, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Margibi and Bong Counties.
Along with Vision for Liberia, they have been feeding thousands of orphans in the last couple of days while they conducted the assessment.
Mr. Rashid promised to strengthen collaboration with the Liberian charity to provide for the orphans amenities to meet their basic needs, while also thanking Vision for Liberia for giving he and his team the opportunity to visit the country and ascertained the situation affecting orphans.
“The Akhirah team estimates that with the support and the team on the ground the orphan situation can be sorted. We just need the public to donate to our charity and give us what they can and we can make an immediate impact, ” he said.
Mr. Rashid, while in Liberia met with the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection as well as authorities of the Ministry of Health to discuss some of the challenges the government face within addressing issues orphanages in the country.
The discussion also focused on the possible intervention of the Akhirah Team and Vision for Liberia in supporting orphans in the country as a means of buttressing the government’s Pro-Poor agenda.
Following the tour, Vision of Liberia Executive Director James Lackay said his charity is shocked by the level of challenges orphans are faced with in the country.
“The long term plan is to secure farming equipment and to provide clean water so the Orphans can self sustain and have food available to them and also to ensure that they are provided with enough rice and food until the crops are mature,” Lackay said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the board of directors of Vision for Liberia, Mr. Lassana B. Dambeley thanked the British charity for honoring their invitation, adding that he looks forward to a “successful partnership as we all strive to support the advancement of humanity”.
The Akhirah team is a non-profit organization and all the funds go directly to the causes which its raised for. The charity stresses that it doesn’t give funds to government officials or any 3rd party organization.
Mr. Rashid sees the situation of Liberian orphans as a challenge that can be overcome if the world comes together very quickly.
He says if the public have raised over £300 million pounds to fix an old, ”historic building”, Notre Dam, Cathedral in France, that was gutted by fire recently, which is made out of bricks and mortar, then why can’t well raise sufficient funds to help the little humans who are dying for no reason and have been left abandoned”?.
He is optimistic about increasing awareness about the plight of the Liberian orphans in order to gather support, work along with Vision for Liberia to intervene.
In Africa, the charity has provided safe drinking water for poor communities, solar panel to rural communities, as well as medical supplies and medication and treatment.
The group also provides free eye test and treatment for thousands of patients across the continent.
In The Gambia, the British Charity has already fed over 8000 children and orphans this number is expected to rise with the food sustainability programme they have in place, it also underwrites the cost of students fees and has built water borehole wells for several communities.
Vision For Liberia hope is looking to expand its activities across Liberia by providing access to safe drinking water, feeding orphans, and other children, and providing educational assistance to keep children in school.
“Through our international partners like The Akhirah Team and other well-meaning Liberians with their donations or whatever support they can provide, this will help alleviate some of the challenges facing these kids that desperately in need of our help,” said Lackay, Executive Director of Vision for Liberia