Oum El Nour (OEN) Liberia (translates as: Mother of Light Liberia), an organization committed to helping individuals overcome drug dependency to promote a healthier society, Saturday launched its basketball program and a court under the Theme: “Say No To Drugs” in the Barchie Community, Congo Town.
The launch of the basketball program was an addition to a number of programs currently being implemented by OEN Liberia under one of its three cardinal pillars.
The organization is built in three cardinal pillars which include Preventive, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration.
George Hajj, Coordinator of OEN Liberia, said since the launch of the organization in Liberia in 2018, it has only been able to initiate the prevention program which aims to educate and sensitize young people about the danger of drugs.
The organization launched a campaign in selected schools and created clubs for students, who were educated on the danger of taking drugs.
This was followed by movement into communities, where sports teams were formed, including football clubs for all ages, a kickball team for girls, and male and female basketball teams becoming the newest addition.
“Regarding the Rehabilitation and Integration programs, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Health through the Ministry of Public Works, accordingly we obtained 30 acres of land in Buchanan to build two rehabilitation centers for men and women,” OEN Liberia Coordinator Mr. Hajj said.
Saturday’s program was graced by dignitaries including the Ambassador of China, H.E. Ren Yisheng, and Lebanese Ambassador to Liberia, H.E. Henri Kastoun.
Chinese Ambassador Ren, who surprised the new basketball teams with several donated sporting items, thanked OEN Liberia for the great job done so far in fighting drugs in Liberia, particularly among young people, and said there is a need to raise more awareness on substance abuse to save the future generation. He also pledged the Chinese government’s continuous support towards the economic growth and development of Liberia, recounting the numerous contributions that China has made to Liberia over the years.
During the program, some participants of the organization’s programs provided testimonials about how their lives have been transformed since they were recruited into OEN Liberia program.
“As a child that is growing up in a community where drug abuse is common among both young and older people, I am faced with a great challenge to say “Say No To Drugs” in the sense that I may be viewed as being disrespectful. But thanks to Mother of Light Liberia for their training sessions which have helped me a lot to say “No to Drugs” without regret,” Christine King, a student of the Tarplah Community Memorial Academy and a participant of the We-Connect Community program for below 15 years, narrated.
“Since joining this family, the Mother of Light, my knowledge about drugs has increased. I joined with no idea or information on drugs and the danger it poses to society, but today, I can boast of being a proud campaigner against drug abuse and the danger the society faces if steps like what Mother of Light is doing are not done,” Diana Kollie said.