By Janjay F. Campbell
Former “Miss Liberia” Ms. Patrice Juah has encouraged young girls to use their potential to the fullest and do what it takes to farther their education and be mentors for other girls in the future.
Ms. Patrice Juah spoke at program marking the 4th observance of the International Day of the Girl Child held at the Paynesville City Hall under the theme; “Ensuring Quality Education for Girls Empowerment”.
She called on the Government of Liberia and its partners to ensure that girls complete high school and that the government establishes a mentorship program to help young girls become decent and prominent citizens in the society.
Ms. Juah , who is now a businesswoman, is also encouraging parents to help their children realize their dreams and not to stop them from dreaming big because young women in Liberia are already taking up the responsibility of becoming leaders someday.
To her male counterparts, she urged them to help girls achieve their goals in life by giving them scholarships. She stressed that it is time that men realize that women are smart and that they need their male counterparts to support them.
She wants Liberia do away with gaps that are affecting girls’ education and encourage them to become heroines and that there are wealth and potential in a girl child. She noted that although girls’ education is a top priority in Liberia, teenage pregnancy, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), financial constraints are still hampering girls’ education in the country.
In remarks, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Madam Julia Duncan Cassell said the ministry in collaboration with its partners would continue to strive in promoting the social and economic development of adolescent girls and young women in Liberia.
She said the need for girls’ empowerment cannot be over- emphasized, as it can be translated into greater strength for national development. She told girls and young women that they have a lot of opportunities to become whatever they want to be in the future, but stressed that all they need is to focus on their education.
To begin the observance of the 4th International Day of the Girl Child, last Thursday, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, in collaboration with partners held a memorial service for young girls and women who lost their lives during the Ebola outbreak.
Preaching at the memorial service that was held yesterday at the Paynesville Town Hall, Rev. Gemane G. Getteh read from 1st Chronicles 7:23-24 and spoke on the theme “Turning Girls Into Giants Through Quality Education”.
The Executive Director of Anchor of Hope Ministries told the audience that today Liberia is free from the deadly Ebola virus because a woman stood up and called for help to save her people. He stated that President Sirleaf wrote a letter to the world asking for help to free her people from the deadly virus.
He went on to say that girls and women were more vulnerable than men and that the first person to die from the Ebola virus was a woman. He stressed that pregnant women were denied health services while young girls were becoming bread winners for their siblings because their parents were no more.
Rev. Getteh told the story about FatuKerkula and explained how she used that trash bag technique to save her family. He stated that the story of Fatu should be a lesson for young girls and women and that they should make impact on the world.
He challenged young girls to bring hope to Liberia by daring to care for your country and that they should take initiative and be responsible. He mentioned that education is an indispensable weapon that can be used at any time and that no one can take it away.
Ending his sermon, Rev. Getteh stressed “victimhood is not a destination, it is a road leading to recovery and bigger dreams; Liberians are survivals”.
Giving the girls some motivational talks, Madam MiattaFuhnbulleh told young girls and women at the memorial service that it is privilege for them to be in school because many girls around the world don’t have the opportunity to go to school and have an education.
She told her audience that the education they are getting today, society will expect more from them and that the education they are achieving will take them to a higher height. She encouraged young girls to focus on their education and become a heroine for their nation.
For her part, the deputy chief of mission at the United States embassy in Monrovia, Madam Sheila Paskman told the audience that they should not expect everything to come easy in life. She stated that young girls should not get discouraged when life seems to turn against them and that they should keep pushing forward.
The global theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl Child was: “The Power of the Adolescent Girl Vision 2030” and the national theme was: “Ensuring Quality Education for Girls Empowerment”.