A visiting delegation of the SOS Villages International yesterday paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Julia Duncan Cassell, aimed at discussing ways to address problems faced by the youth in Liberia as well as pledging the organization’s commitment to working with government to create more opportunities for Liberia’s youth.
The SOS delegation, headed by the president, Siddhartha Kaul, included the Deputy Operations Officer, Tom Malvet, the International Regional Director, Benoit Poit, who were accompanied by the Acting National Director, Simon Tokjohozin and a member of the Board, Cllr. Henry Reed Cooper.
Mr. Kaul hoped that Liberia will be a good partner to the SOS family now that there is a long existence of peace. He acknowledged that Liberia has more needs, and said that a peaceful transition will be the best assurance for better partnership.
He noted that child mortality is still on the increase in Liberia as well as health and education issues, adding that with the finalizing of the SOS goals at the close of last year, “youth care is now a priority especially for Africa.”
The SOS International president assured the Minister of his organization’s increased commitment to Liberia’s recovery agenda even though its income was somewhat stagnant due to its active involvement in the migration crisis in Europe.
He pledged to offer assistance to another 50 Ebola orphans in Juah Town, Grand Bassa County, where the presence of the SOS has been significant for several years. Kaul talked about giving youths the right kind of education and designing an approach for their change in the country.
Minister Duncan Cassell thanked the SOS International guests for the visit and assured them that Liberia remains a partner of the SOS International family. She said that although there are many challenges in the country, yet there are more opportunities.
Minister Cassell said that taking care of children from an early age sets the platform for fewer problems when they are youth, and disclosed that Liberia is going into public-private partnerships in terms of health, education and child protection.
She said government looks forward to the partnership so that the children are not left behind, “ and ensuring that the country will experience less youth problems and a productive society void of early child marriages, teenage pregnancy and FGM related issues that tend to prevent girls from going to school.”