Liberia: “Children Are Not Objects”- SOS National Director
Monrovia – Mr. Augustine A. Allieu, SOS Liberia National Director, said children around the world are experiencing abuse and it is unacceptable and should be stopped.
Addressing a press conference Wednesday, November 27, at his SOS Children Village in Mataldi, Sinkor, Allieu disclosed that SOS will continue reaching out and impacting the lives of many children around the world.
The philanthropic organization, Social Organization Society (SOS) Village, commonly known as the SOS Children Village in Monrovia recently received their International Director for West and Central Africa Region, Mr. Benoit Piot, who came on an assessment visit.
Explaining their works over the last 70 years since been in Liberia, Allieu said they have nine programs including the alternative care program which caters to children, who do not have parental care; youth care program, supports youth who are transitioning from youth to adults to be self-reliance. He further stated that they have 212 teenagers, who are transitioning to adults. According to him, they are also supporting higher education programs and those young people, who cannot make it through higher education, they provide skills training to help them for their future.
“We have the family strengthening program; we are working with children and parents in communities in Montserrado and Grand Bassa counties. In the family strengthening program, we have 1,112 children, 212 caregivers in 43 communities in those counties. We work with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. The Ministry spots children in dire needs and contact partners like SOS.
“Children are very important members of our society and we should not see them as objects. We should see that they grow into productive adults. We should make sure that they are part of the project and not just objects,” he said.
Also speaking, SOS International Director for West and Central Africa Regions, Mr. Piot said he came to see the work SOS Children’s Village is doing here in Liberia and to make it more relevant.
He disclosed that SOS is in 135 countries around the world and it has 40,000 children worldwide benefiting from its programs. Included in that number are 139 Liberian children in two children’s villages and 212 youths, who are going through the self-reliance program.
Piot further stated that SOS cannot allow children to grow up alone so they work with government to provide foster cares for orphan children.
“Each child should have a good place to grow, a familiar environment, where their needs are put first and where they can build their confidence and learn in a positive and supportive community. Our aim is to keep families together. If it is possible, we strive to ensure that brothers and sisters grow up together so they can keep their own shared history and build a shared future. Sometimes parents are for various reasons, not able to care for their children alone; sometimes children lose their parents or never knew them. These are the children we help. Our aim is to enable children to develop into adults who have the skills to take responsibility for themselves and contribute to their communities,” he said
Addressing youth unemployment, he said youth unemployment is a big challenge worldwide. He stated that it was one of the reasons why they started the SOS Children’s Village so that the children are helped to be prepared while they are very young so that they can be ready to face the future when they are adults.
“We as an organization cannot do all but we have to work with other institutions to cater to some of the unemployment challenges,” he concluded.