Child advocacy group, Street Child of Liberia has ensured the return of 443 children under its sponsorship back to school, acting country director J. Kerkula Benda told the Daily Observer yesterday in Monrovia.
In an interview at his Monrovia office, Benda said the students returned to school through its sustainability project, headed by coordinator June-Rose Dangbuah.
He added that with beneficiaries in Bomi, Margibi, Grand Cape Mount and Monsterrado counties, “It is time that we expand our activities to other parts of Liberia where potential street children are found.”
“We intend to move to Bong, Nimba and Southeast counties because some troubled children there deserve equal support,” Benda said.
However, he said expanding Street Child’s activities throughout Liberia demands adequate funding to cater to the beneficiaries.
“Providing benefits to a child who is troubled and who may have lived in the street for sometime demands funds,” Benda said, “because getting such a child off the street involves the provision of attractive necessities that may encourage him to remain at home.”
He explained that it is at this point that Street Child’s psychosocial and sustainability departments get to work.
Mr. Benda, who has been on the job for a few months, said funding is the most important necessity for Street Child to reach out to children who are in dire need of material and psychosocial support.
He appealed to humanitarian organizations, both at home and abroad and whose priorities involve assisting troubled children, to join Street Child to provide a way out for such children who equally deserve a home, and a warm bed.
Contributing, Mr. Kaba Y. Moore, who heads the Street Child Ebola project, said psychosocial services are necessary for children who have been through difficulties.
“Street Child gives much attention to helping children get their minds focused on rebuilding their lives as well as parents who need help working with their children,” Moore said.
Moore added that adequate funding from local and international partners could make the difference as many children are living on their own, waiting for someone to rescue them.
He revealed that Street Child is working along with the JFK Medical Center to treat four amputee kids and to provide them with prosthetic legs.
Mr. T. Bodio, coordinator of a 33-member group of street volunteers whose duty includes identifying street children and beginning a process to reunite them with their parents, said out of the total of 443 children spread out in four counties, 40 of them are being monitored.
“They are in five zones, including Duala, Somalia Drive, Old Road, Red Light and Buchanan because their caregivers did not do well enough with grants provided by Street Child in its sustainability support and therefore we have to get them back to school,” Bodio said.
Street Child has a total of 70 volunteers who provide support, including monitoring the behavior and school attendance of children removed from the streets. Other activities include ELOH (Elizabeth Legacy of Hope) that benefits 40 amputee children and the All Children in School project in Cape Mount.