The founder of the Daughters of Virtue Girls Ministry (DVGM), Madia Reeves-Fully, has lauded the efforts of Liberian girls who, along with others, made the ultimate sacrifice of courageously combating the Ebola Virus Disease, which has almost been driven out of the country.
“I want to use this opportunity to recognize young girls who were at the frontline of the fight against the deadly Ebola virus,” she said, addressing members of the media on Sunday in Monrovia.
Madam Reeves-Fully added: “It is no secret that a majority of girls in Liberia were the primary care givers for relatives who fell victim to the Ebola virus and others who got infected and died as the result of caring for the sick.”
She said teenage girls were forced to take up responsibilities as mothers, caring for younger siblings while going through the trauma of watching their parents die.
Her commendation was made as the world observed International Women’s Day. Liberian women joined their global counterparts yesterday, March 8, the day set by the United Nations. The celebration is held under the global theme “Make It Happen.” This encourages effective action for advancing and recognizing women. The day is also observed under the national theme “Women Rising Beyond Ebola.”
“Hats off to you girls,” the DVGM founder said. “Your bravery caused some of you to lay down your lives, and some of you gave up everything you had and everything you had ever hoped to be; but let me encourage you, success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
The DVGM boss, in an inspirational message, told Liberian girls: “Lift up your head, be strong, be vigilant, watch out for opportunities and go for them, go to school, stay in school, fight to make a pass and prove to the world that you are the true leaders of tomorrow.”
Everyone needs to know that the girls are the heroines of our time; but many of the hearts are broken as a result of heinous acts against them, such as rape and domestic violence, she noted.
Madam Reeves-Fully also observed that as government reopens schools, many girls are out of school due to several reasons, including economic hardship, lack of parental support, teenage pregnancy, perhaps resulting from the long period of school closure.
“Moreover, many girls were orphaned by the Ebola virus and have no support to return to school, and some families may just be reluctant and decide to keep their girls at home,” she pointed out.
Girls’ education in Liberia is hampered by some of the issues mentioned as enshrined in the 2011 revised Girls Education Policy, with the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease. “We cannot overemphasize the need for everyone’s involvement in advocating the right to education for the girl child,” she said.
“I call on the public to make a commitment today, make sure no girl in your community, neighborhood, workplace, church, mosque, or even in your household stays out of school,” she admonished.
Efforts must be multiplied by sacrificing all it takes to ensure a girl goes to school, she insisted. “To the government, you have the power; use that power to ensure all the Ebola orphans are in school. Remember, the greatest gift anyone can give a child is education….let education be our gift to our girls as we celebrate this day,” she said.