No Smoking, No Stealing, and No Fighting are rules for the men in the J.A.V. (Journey Against Violence) program. Their Former General, Joshua Milton Blahyi started the program for the men who fought for him as his warriors as young boys. J.A.V. is designed to give these men skills, structure, and purpose so that they can become contributing members of a new nonviolent society. Educational programs such as J.A.V. are essential to help transform the West African people and prepare them to create a better lifestyle. When Mitch and the Sahbu team visited the program, they were impressed by its impact! Watch as Mitch explains how he became compelled to support their cause.
Liberian boys faced unbelievable horrors running from forced armed service during the civil war. A comment from Dadob, a viewer of a KSL news story featuring Mitch Weight, weighed-in on his experience working with young Liberian men. Before Mitch’s scheduled trip to Liberia two weeks ago, he met with Jed Boal of KSL News who shared what he learned about Sahbu International. The article, along with a few comments from viewers following the news story, is found here on the KSL website. We recognize that there are many hardships in every community around the world, but we wanted to share Dadob’s comments, as he compares the need in Liberia based on his experience as an American: “I worked with three twenty-something young men from Liberia, while working as a contractor in Iraq. The stories they told me were astonishing. They all spoke about their youth and a common thread came out. They all lived in different villages on the outskirts of Monrovia.The common thread was their childhood and early teens were full of stories about running from the rebels.
Pat: This morning we met with a group of former child soldiers. The horrors they faced and atrocities they committed during Liberia’s 15-year civil war are unimaginable to most Americans. One man told us of a rape he committed when his SBU (small boy unit) attacked a university campus in Monrovia. Years later, the woman he raped spotted him on the street. She spoke out. He ignored her cries. Another man, David, had a more gruesome story to tell. As a child soldier high on heroin and cocaine, David made a bet with a boy in his unit on the sex of a woman’s unborn baby. After killing the woman “with a bullet,” David said he used a bayonet to slice open her stomach. It was a boy, and the man I interviewed won 1,500 Liberian dollars, about $15 U.S. today. He told me that incident remains one of his biggest regrets in life.