On the Saturday before Christmas, we were able to raise enough money to send 12 African kids to school for a year including food and shelter. This has made a huge difference in the lives of these 12 children. As we know, children in Africa who are able to consistently stay in school tend to be safer, healthier, and have a chance at making a living later in life. They also make sure their kids have the same things. So even though 12 lives were greatly impacted, the impact of others through the generations is much greater. The fundraising project was done outside of the Saratoga Springs Wal Mart in only six or seven hours, but there were many people who worked for days leading up to the event. A lot of time and materials were donated so we would have signs and stickers, but also food items, children’s books, tee shirts etc., to sell and raise money. We are so appreciative of the support everyone has given to this cause, including the people who worked on this project, as well as the generous people who were passing by and stopped to support this great cause.
Many children turn to crime and prostitution to afford food, water and an education. Every day in Liberia parents struggle to provide for their children. Education is considered a luxury when most families can’t even afford to put food on the table. Mitch Weight, founder of Sahbu, and his team are currently working in Liberia to further the country’s education and deliver school supplies, clothing and toys. “Without an education you are consigned to crime, prostitution or just working in the streets trying to find something to sell,” Weight said. Sahbu estimates that 60 percent of schoolgirls resort to having sex for cash in order to afford food, water and an education. These girls can be as young as 10 years old and sell themselves for as little as three U.S. cents.
Meet Jefferson. Like many other young men in Liberia, he spends a lot of his time roaming the streets with very little supervision. School days here are short, ending around 1:30 p.m. and that’s when you will find hundreds of teenagers just hanging out. There is very little in the way of extracurricular or supervised after-school activities. Thus, the country’s teenage pregnancy rate is one of the highest in Africa.
Unable to care for her young child and not knowing what to do, a young mother abandoned him in the streets of Liberia where he didn’t stand a chance against the life of crime, drugs, and violence. This is Excellent’s story: A woman at the market noticed the young boy alone and after much searching realized he had been abandoned. Without any other options available, she could not just leave him there, so she took him home to her community. There he roamed amongst the various shanties, sometimes naked. He was often found sleeping outside and food was provided by random, sympathetic neighbors. One woman in the community, Velma, took pity on the small child and took him in to live with her. Although she had no money, she could not bare to see the boy suffer. It was Velma who gave him his name, Excellent.
These smiles and singing voices show the hope that education brings to children in Liberia! This video, taken by Karen Mathot in Liberia just yesterday, shows how happy children can be when there’s a safe place to learn, away from child prostitution, violence and hunger. Each one of these children now has the opportunity to break the poverty cycle and begin a life of prosperity. How great is that?! Don’t you love what is happening with the Sahbu movement? Show your support by “liking” our facebook page at www.facebook.com/sahbusearch.