Liberian Youth – Children of War
From 1989 to 2003 the citizens of Liberia endured 14 years of civil war. During this time, an estimated 270,000 people died, and hundreds of thousands were forced into refugee camps or displaced within the country. This especially affected Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, where over 78% of the citizens became refugees.
The Liberian war destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure including schools, hospitals, and other government institutions. Additionally, the country’s economic structure was in ruin, leaving much of the population in poverty.
Often those most affected by this war were children. During the beginning of the war, military groups recruited children for war. Estimates indicate that over 19,000 children, many as young as 7 years old, were recruited, often by force. These children were forced to murder family and friends, subjected to rape or forced to rape others, subjected to prostitution, drug use, cannibalism, torture, and many other atrocities. The scars this left on both individuals as well as the society as a whole are unimaginable.
In 2003, the Liberian war started to come to its end with the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement. By 2004, many of those involved in the war were disarmed. Unfortunately, the end of the war did not mark an end to pain and suffering as the country still suffers the effects of war. Many are unaware that most Liberians live on less than a dollar a day, and only 50% of the country’s children attend school. In Monrovia, half of the households are food secure, meaning that they live in hunger or fear of starvation. Even with the end of war, the economic outcome remains bleak, and the assimilation of former child soldiers back into society still introduces problems within Liberia’s government.
In post-war Liberia, supporting the country’s youth, especially younger children, has become a top priority in light of the 350,000 children who are now growing up without any form of parental care.
Due to the economic situation, many families in Liberia cannot afford to properly feed their children or the orphans they have taken into their households. There are thousands of children that are malnourished, and one out of five children is underweight.
James 1:27 states that religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. It’s with this in mind that MOWCF was birthed. It is our prayer that the Father will use MOWCF to raise awareness of the condition of Liberia’s youth and widowed, as well as provide a conduit for supporting those in need. As we develop support programs and register MOWCF for non-profit status, we greatly appreciate your support. We understand that not everyone is in a position to give regularly, but this does not mean that you cannot help. Outside of financial support we appreciate your support in the way of prayer and spreading awareness by sharing this ministry with friends and family.