-Launches the Clar Hope Foundation
First Lady Clar Weah has called on Liberians to give her the chance to perform instead of judging her on the basis of prejudice.
Mrs. Weah made the assertion when she launched the Clar Hope Foundation, a charity program aimed at promoting good health and well being, quality education, gender equality and decent work for Liberian women, girls and children.
At the launch of the program on June 4 at a resort in Monrovia, Mrs. Weah said before anyone criticizes her, Liberians should give her the opportunity to prove who she really is instead of judging her by look and from a distance.
She did not exactly state how and on what basis she has been criticized; however, critics have said on social media and local radios that being a Jamaican, her interest would be focused on her country in the Caribbean more than it would be on Liberia.
She said the foundation launched on June 4 was established in February this year, and her vision came upon realizing that a lot of Liberian women, girls and children were striving amidst extreme poverty.
To that, Mrs. Weah said, “I want Liberians to know that someone cares for them, and as a mother of the nation, I have to intervene in the problem affecting Liberians to ensure that their lives improve.”
She emphasized that transparency and accountability will be considered highly in the running of the Foundation, noting that they will ensure that any amount of money coming into the project will be used for the benefit of the Liberian people.
Mrs. Weah lost her father at the age of 8, according to her profile, and experienced many difficulties coming up as a child; something she said reminds her when she sees children, women and girls lingering in hardship and abject poverty.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Country Director Dr. Anthony Chan was one of the invited guests who gave synopses about progress and pitfalls of the Liberian economy and human development.
Chan said Liberia is endowed with resources and has been making some progress, but there are still challenges in the health and education sectors in addition to the absence of basic social services.
He said because of the lack of basic infrastructure, Liberians are still walking distances to bring locally produced goods to the market and in most instances their goods perish.
These conditions, Dr. Chan said, contribute to the 40 percent poverty rate being faced in the country.
In order to address the situation, Dr. Chan said there is a need for a broad-based economic program that will be inclusive of every Liberian.
He also urged the Clar Hope Foundation to emphasize a high level of transparency and accountability to build donors’ confidence.
Touria Benlafqin, one of the organizers, said the Foundation intends to focus on upgrading healthcare facilities, training professionals and community midwives and at the same time improving access to vaccines and clean water for children.
With its focus on education, the Foundation aims to build and renovate over 200 public schools and orphanages in urban and rural areas and provide textbooks.
Therefore, the Foundation, according to Benlafqin, will advocate for women’s rights by working closely with the government to reform laws and create facilities to support women, especially those who are victims of domestic violence.