President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said conditions surrounding the country’s recovery process have caused Liberians to fall far behind.Addressing the nation on the state of the economy on Wednesday May 28, President Sirleaf stated the difficulties in the recovery process have been a result of constraints on the part of government to prioritize everything at the same time.“Our continued post-conflict recovery process is of such that we must continue to do everything at the same time,” she said.The Liberian leader likened the post-conflict recovery process to driving an old bus while at the same time repairing its many deficient and dysfunctional parts.“As we know, for the past years our bus has been parked, some of the parts have gotten rusty, some are unusable, and many of our people were left stranded and abandoned on the sides of the road. From opportunity to morality, our children, and in many respects ourselves, have fallen too far behind,” President Sirleaf stated.This statement is, however, in sharp contrast with several comments made earlier that the country has now been placed on the right trajectory for economic growth and infrastructural development. Efforts have, however, been made to restore the country’s damage infrastructures, power, roads, ports and other facilities.The Liberian economy is reported to have been experiencing robust growth of seven percent annually for the past six years. There have been indications that this is the highest on the African continent during this period. But amidst the barrage of praises for the level at which the economy is reportedly growing, poverty continues to affect many citizens, as many producers are even unable to access the market with their products due to bad roads; the absence of affordable electricity has tightened profit margins for most businesses.Complaints continue to mount that the economy is not adequately impacting the lives of ordinary Liberians.Many have voiced their suspicions that these purported growth rates are unrealistic and only meant to boost the image of the country outside. At the same time, others argue that the attraction of about US$16 billion, which brings to the fore multinationals such as ArcelorMittal , China Union and others, are serving as backing to this “reality.”President Sirleaf even said the Liberian economy remains “fundamentally strong”, in the midst of hiking prices of commodities, a skyrocketing foreign exchange rate between the United States and Liberia dollars and a stressful banking sector. She blamed the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for lack of coordination, which she said is the cause of most of the economy’s problems.She was quick to promise robust pending actions, however, to ensure that the economy is restored to its core standard.“This is why the engine is up and running, we must keep moving forward – determined to always give our collective best to close the gap between where we are and where we know we can be.”“This also is why all Liberians are right to be concerned that the engine of our bus must keep beating. This engine is the economy. To keep us moving forward, the economy must keep working by our people and for all our people,” she stressed.According to the President, the only way to open new doors of opportunity for Liberians is to expand the space for increased participation of Liberians, and to break down the walls of monopolies so that more people can continue to benefit from quality services at affordable prices.She indicated that in terms of national economies, no country is an island. “On our own, we cannot build all of our roads, pave all of our streets, rebuild all of our schools and hospitals, secure our borders, and make ourselves feel entirely safe. On our own, we cannot meet all of our needs. Certainly so, the government – indeed no government on the face of this earth – can employ all of its citizens.”President Sirleaf said this is why all Liberians have determined and agreed that by the year 2030, most of the population should have climbed up from poverty to prosperity.“It therefore means that each of us -– government and private sector, civil society and non-governmental organizations, legislators and judges, community leaders and the media, students and workers — each of us, without necessarily compromising the demands of our individual callings, continue to act in ways to ensure that more Liberians are able to work and earn a decent living,” she said.The Liberian leader furthered: “It means that more Liberians must not just wait for a government job but be empowered to own their own businesses and employ others. It means more Liberians must be able to pay their bills, send their children to school, care for their families, and travel if they desire, retire with dignity, and treat themselves with some of the nicer things that life has to offer.”“It means that our society must become one in which all Liberians – males and females, young and old, Christians and Muslims, abled and disabled – can all make it, if they are willing to try. Yes, this is possible.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The management of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) has lauded authorities of the National Housing Authority (NHA) for the completion of a 35 unit housing community in Jah Tondo Town, Brewerville, outside Monrovia.During the tour of the facilities on Wednesday, vice chair for the Board of NASSCORP, Cletus Sieh said his organization is delighted with the level of work the NHA has done in completing a total of 91 units. Mr. Sieh expressed gratitude to NHA, adding, “As a partner who is a 100 percent funder of the project, we will continue to collaborate with the housing authority to address the need for housing in Liberia.”He said that supporting housing projects remains part of NASSCORP’s social responsibility.Mr. Sieh said since the appointment of Samuel Wluh as managing director of the NHA, “there have been more tangibles,” for which NASSCORP has seen the need to continue working with the Wluh-led administration to ensure that all Liberians own their own house.He said the process of constructing more of the housing units was important so that project’s funders can see that their contribution to the economy was purposeful “because of the level of developments currently taking place across the country.” For his part, NHA Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Prince A. Wreh, assured the NASSCORP officials of the commitment of the NHA to provide housing for the people of Liberia.He said his organization remains focused in addressing some of the challenges, including the provision of water, and working with the Ministry of Education to ensure that children have access to school, particularly in the Jah Tondo Town area.“We are involved in formal community developments such as social and economic surveys to capture schools, clinics and even police stations in the project diagram,” Mr. Wreh said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Keep the Dream 196, or KTD196, is a Tzaneen-based organisation helping make youngsters’ dreams come true by providing support and care, particularly for orphans, caregivers and vulnerable children.Keep the Dream works in areas where communities are under extreme pressure from unemployment, lack of healthcare, growing poverty and high rates of HIV/Aids infections.The training programme also helps children develop their self-discipline and team work skills and introduces first aidMany children are their families’ sole breadwinners, after parents have succumbed to the illness, or have travelled to look for work.“We work with orphans and vulnerable children in particular,” says Louise Batty, one of the organisation’s founders.Batty is a professional nurse employed by the Department of Health and was seconded to a local home-based care organisation in Tzaneen.“These children enter the programme with low self-esteem, [low] self-confidence and a hopeless outlook towards life. Seeing all of this change quickly as the kids progress through the programme is awe-inspiring. They become so confident and purpose-filled in their outlook and their actions.”Keep the Dream 196 took off in 2003 when a Choice Trust focus group, comprising 180 home-based care volunteers, expressed concerns over problems facing the orphaned and vulnerable children in their villages in the north of Limpopo.Batty, with primary school teacher Elizabeth Mabuza, laid the organisation’s foundations, with 13 girls participating in their initial programme. By the end of the year they had managed to train 50 new volunteers and had more than 1 000 kids in the programme.“We have been in existence for 10 years this month (November); we started with 13 girls and now we have 2 456 children in 91 different sites around Greater Tzaneen Municipality,” says Batty.“We see the impact of our work every day and it is so encouraging to see these kids go on to become contributing members of society after overcoming so much.”THERAPY, SKILLS AND COMMUNICATIONThe organisation runs a number of projects, training caregivers and children in communication and leadership skills. It also tackles reproductive health, teaches caregivers and children about their legal rights and responsibilities, and facilitates group therapy developing “circles of support” with the children.The three-year KTD196 Food for Life training programme teaches young people how to harvest water, to compost and cook, practise subsistence farming, and marketing and basic bookkeeping.The organisation runs a number of projects, training caregivers and children in communication and leadership skillsThe training programme also helps children develop their self-discipline and team work skills and introduces first aid.Keep the Dream offers remedial classes for those who have had to drop out of school to care for younger siblings or sick family members. It helps families apply for social grants, and helps older children apply for scholarships and bursaries by providing access to information and computers.Batty says what moves her most about working with the children is that, “they’re not happy with the status quo of the now, the crime, corruption and despair; they want to be part of the solution and make a real difference in the lives of others and they do that now, not when everything is going right for them but now when life is tough and they don’t have parents or enough food or resources. They share what they have and do what they can. This is humbling to watch and be a part of.“Their past is a stepping stone to their destiny and not a stumbling block or a millstone around their necks.“They are the new South Africa.”PLAY YOUR PARTFor more information on Keep the Dream, visit their website. To learn more about how you can help contact Louise Batty via email or call her 074 274 2080.
One more inmate of the Aasra shelter home in Patna has died. Anamika, 27, died at a government hospital on Friday night, police said.Police have also rescued one of two inmates who had gone missing from the shelter home. She was found at Saguna Mor in Patna.Anamika had been taken to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) after her condition deteriorated on Thursday night. “She was complaining of breathlessness and was severely anaemic. She died around 8 p.m. on Friday,” said Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, superintendent of PMCH. It was the third case of death of an inmate of the Aasra shelter home in the last three weeks.The government-funded home is run by the NGO Anumaya Human Resources Foundation. The secretary and treasurer of the shelter home, Chirantan Kumar and Manisha Dayal, were arrested after two of the inmates were brought dead to PMCH on August 10.Two missing inmates — Meera, 35, and Anita, 30 — were said to have run away from the home on Thursday. “We have found Anita and she is with the local police now,” said Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj. There are 68 women and girls, most of them physically challenged, living in the shelter home. After the arrest of the secretary and treasurer, the State Social Welfare Department deputed its own personnel for the home’s upkeep as an interim measure. “Several measures have been taken to improve the living conditions at Aasra shelter home,” said department director Raj Kumar. The department is also planning to shift this shelter home from the Rajiv Nagar area, said department officials.“Gradually, the government is taking over all the shelter homes run by NGOs in the state…such incidents are not acceptable and those found guilty will face action”, Krishnandan Verma, social welfare department minister said on Friday. Earlier, after the Muzaffarpur sexual abuse case involving 34 minor girls was exposed in a social audit report of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), the Nitish Kumar government had decided to phase out awarding contracts for running shelter homes. Chief minister Nitish Kumar had announced that “the government will run all the shelter and short stay homes in the state”. There are 110 shelter and short stay homes in the state and the conditions in most of them, as the TISS report had said, are “deplorable”.
Kenneth Duremdes. File PhotoThe Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League starts Thursday with its Anta Rajah Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.Organized by Sen. Manny Pacquiao, the league is patterned after the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association.ADVERTISEMENT Gritty Lady Red Spikers climb out of two-set hole, frustrate Lady Pirates Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Read Next Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Pacquiao bares disputes over committee chairmanships PLAY LIST 01:30Pacquiao bares disputes over committee chairmanships01:29DOH kicks off nationwide polio vaccination drive01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City “I’m very humbled and excited at the same time to be working with Sen. Pacquiao for this noble project of him to discover untapped talents across the country and give former pros another chance to prove their worth,” said MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes.Opening rites start at 7 p.m. before the Parañaque Patriots battle the Caloocan Supremos at 8 p.m.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutA brand new car and 10 motorbikes will also be up for grabs for lucky fans who will watch the opener live.“This league will be a great help to young players, including those in the provinces, aiming to make it to the pro ranks,” said Pacquiao. Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments LATEST STORIES NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers