If you’ve been following our cause, you are aware of the dire situation Liberian children face, as the country recovers from a 14-year civil war. The war destroyed literally everything, and orphaned hundreds of thousands of children. One of those children was recently rescued from the streets by Karen Mathot, of Lifting Liberia. Yesterday, she shared with us the heartbreaking story of a boy who is five years old, abandoned, hungry, unclothed and unloved. A community member, who said the boy has been wandering the streets for three years, brought him to the school. Reports told that he was dropped in a dumpster at two years old because his parents were unable to provide for him. Karen took the boy home with her to bathe, clothe, and “just love him.” Karen said this is not uncommon. To us, this is unfathomable and heartbreaking.
James: The city is an amazing place. I feel like these photos don’t really do it justice. The smells and sounds add so much more than a photo can do. After lunch we visited two girls, Zoe and Baby, in the slums of Monrovia. These two girls, at the age of 5 and 6, go out every day to sell food on the streets. They sell to make money for their family. My son Jack is that same age, and I can’t imagine him working to help support my family. These are the living conditions they live in. Their parents live in the interior of Liberia and sent them to Monrovia because there are more opportunities. They wanted their girls to go to school. The woman that brought them into Monrovia told them that she didn’t have any school opportunities for the girls, but the parents insisted. Now, the children are working to earn the food they eat every day. 5 and 6 years old! Are you kidding me?! They were just two of the dozens of children we met today that were either sent or kidnapped to Monrovia to work.
For three and a half years, colleges and universities have paid my company to help recruit students. Over that period of time my team has become very good at what we do. And while our work has been completely worthwhile, it pales in comparison to the vision we have now. Six Months Ago… When I returned home from Liberia the idea of restructuring and launching Sahbu (i.e., giving a child in Liberia an education for each student enrolled through us here in the US) started to flow, but there were so many questions and I was so entrenched in the way I had been doing business, that I had a hard time working out all the details. I pitched the concept to Jodie Blake, my company’s Marketing Associate