U.S. Envoy Frowns on Dependency Syndrome

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Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Monrovia, Ms. Sheila R. Paskman, has called on the youth population of Liberia to make use of their talents to do things that will help them instead of waiting on government or others to do for them.
She spoke to youths in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County during a mentorship program organized by members of the Mandela Washington Fellows.
Ms. Paskman urged the youths to get tips of information from the fellows to add to their talents to fulfill their needs, emphasizing that it is better to do something to help yourself than to rely on government to respond to request after ten years.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship and the United States’ support of programs such as the one organized by the 2014 fellows in Buchanan demonstrate the U.S. Government’s commitment to invest in and support the next generation of African leaders.
Ms. Paskman told the youths that the 2014 fellows and those 15 persons attending the 2015 fellowship now have already developed their professional skills and are outstanding leaders.
“They have a proven record of accomplishments in leading and promoting positive change.”
She said as the fellows return to pass onto the rest of the youths what they learned for six weeks at various universities in the United States, it is about time that the youths make better use of the mentorship program to forge ahead in their businesses and community services, and not wait on government.
She urged that honesty demonstrated by the 2014 fellows to return during the heat of the Ebola crisis to begin community services by spreading anti-Ebola messages and distributing materials should be imitated by all Liberian youths.
In his remarks, the chairman of the Mandela Washington Fellowship Liberia Chapter, Benjamin M. Freeman, told the youths that they returned in compliance with the promise they made to serve as mentors and ambassadors to help pass on ideas they acquired in the U.S.
A representative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports also urged youths to make career choices. They should not be ambitious to aim at the highest position after completing college education, he cautioned. Rather, they should begin as volunteers or cadets. Education is not for oneself, but for the good of society.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship, previously known as the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), was organized by President Barack Obama and launched in 2010 to help provide training in entrepreneurship, community service and public service to enable young Africans to develop their leadership skills.
Beneficiaries are charged to return home to serve as mentors for those who are not privileged to attend the program.
The 2014 fellows returned last year when Ebola was raging, and they joined the fight and provided community services in the epic counties including Montserrado.
Since their return and the reduction of cases of Ebola in Liberia, this is the first mentorship program the fellows have organized in compliance with their charge.

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