The suffering of 25 Liberian Students who were sent on scholarship to Egypt in pursuit of higher education appears to be far from over as the student leadership has written a new letter outlining their present distress. In their recent letter, the students re-echoed their appeal to the Government of Liberia (GOL) to restore their allowances reportedly discontinued four years ago. Education Minister Etmonia Tarpeh’s director of communications, J. Maxim Bletahn, told the Daily Observer via mobile phone yesterday that the plight of the students in Egypt had not reached the MOE authorities. However, Mr. Bletahn promised to bring the matter to the attention of Minister Tarpeh, for “immediate and appropriate action.” He did not indicate when the MOE would intervene. It may be recalled that the 25 students earned the scholarships through the MOE and were vetted by both GOL and the Egyptian Embassy in Monrovia to undertake undergraduate studies at universities in Cairo, in 2011. The students are appealing to the GOL through the MOE and the Inter-Ministerial Scholarship Committee at the Civil Service Agency (CSA), which vetted them in 2011, to restore their allowances. In their latest letter, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, the students argued that on September 3, 2012, they gathered at the premises of the Liberian Embassy near Cairo and condemned the “cruel treatment” being meted out to them. After their protest, the letter continues: The Ambassador, Alexander H. N. Wallace, III terminated all student related services at the Embassy and even warned that any student that attempted to reach the Embassy for any service “would be doing so to his/her own detriment.”The letter noted that after three months of failure to address their plight, they again converged on the Embassy grounds on November 5, 2012, to call the attention of GOL to their plight.“Unfortunately, they were all arrested and placed behind bars by the Egyptian National Police authority on the alleged order of the Ambassador.”Some of the students who managed to escape arrest communicated to George K. Werner, head of the Ministerial Scholarship Committee to seek their release, but allegedly, nothing was done. They recalled that the Egyptian government, through its National Police, later ordered their release, “since, in fact, we pleaded not guilty to the allegations leveled against us by the (Liberian) Embassy.”“In line with the aforementioned, Mr. Werner demanded that before he did anything about our plights, we must apologize to the Ambassador for going to the Embassy. The demanded apology letter experienced no delay, and was filed on October 28, 2013,” the students’ letter said.“After meeting all demands by Mr. Werner, we experienced nothing regarding the solution to our plight.” Werner, the students said, has remained completely silent about their wellbeing.Meanwhile, six bilateral scholarship beneficiaries were deleted from the beneficiary list and termed as illegitimate students for no explained reason from the scholarship committee, said the students. The students’ letter of apology was signed and approved by the secretary-general of the Liberia Student Union in Egypt, Lansana M. Kabbah and the president, Mohammed A. Kiawhen. The students are Abdulla M. Barry, Abdullah O. Syllah, Alieu M. Jalieba, Sheik K. Sesay, Yusuf Swaray, Losene A. Dukuly, Abduasise A. Dakawah, Abraham Z. M. Kromah, Seliaman A. Kanneh, and Mohammed A. Kiawhen.The rest are Alieu A. Kiazolu, Mustapha M. Sheriff, Fuad F. Nyei, Alieu V. Kamara and Sekou M. Sherif, Alieu F. Sheriff, Mustapha M. Kromah, Kalifa M. Kamara, Sekou A. Barry and Mohammed M. Turay.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
– Advertisement – Former Liberian Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Nathaniel A. Barnes, was among several volunteers who recently donated blood to save lives, particularly children and adults suffering from anemia, malaria and other diseases and are in desperate need of blood transfusion.June 14 of every year is commemorated as World Blood Donor Day, and the Ministry of Health, through the National Blood Safety Program (NBSP), observed the day by campaigning for blood donors.Dr. Barnes described it as a worthy cause to donate blood to stop preventable deaths. He pleaded with all ‘healthy and emotionally composed’ citizens to donate blood to save the lives of people who needlessly die on a daily basis across the country due to lack of blood.He encouraged Liberians to donate blood “To help families, friends or relatives who don’t have money to pay for blood or when the time comes and there is no one around to donate blood.” He backed his call by donating blood.For his part, the Assistant Minister for Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Samson K. Arzoaquoi, said the two regional blood banks in the country need blood to save lives, and called on volunteers to donate blood.“The most common medical emergency health care need at all health institutions across the country is the need for blood transfusion,” Dr. Arzoaquoi said. He noted that those who donate blood are very special people that everyone should applaud.“As we celebrate blood donors’ day let me say a big thank you to all donors and call on them not to stop their sacrificially giving of themselves to see others in need of blood stay alive,” he pointed out.He said in order for the blood safety program to survive, partners, including WHO, ACCEL, among others, are requesting that there should be a national blood policy.“As we are here today, somebody is dying because there is no blood and as we are here somebody has died because he or she did not get blood,” he noted, calling on all qualified blood donors to give blood often.Also making remarks on behalf of the WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Madam Gertrude Mulbah said the theme of the occasion, “What Can You Do? Give Blood. Give Now. Give Often,” goes beyond just thinking about giving blood to relatives and friends.“If my boss was here today she would have said these words coming from my mouth, ‘Everybody can play a role in an emergency situation by giving blood.’ Blood transfusion is an essential component of emergency healthcare,” Madam Mulbah said.“As we commemorate World Blood Donor Day, my boss is urging all countries in the region and all stakeholders involved in blood donations to maintain adequate supplies of safe blood. This will allow national blood transfusion services to respond in time to the increase in blood demand, especially during emergencies,” she said.The program director at the NSBP, Madam Lwopu M. Bruce, said blood donation should be free of charge and voluntary.“Our campaign is to create sufficient awareness so as to welcome on board many voluntary donors,” Madam Bruce said. She commended six of the donors who, over time, have not hesitated to give blood.The NSBP certificated Prince G. Gargar, Emmanuel J. Zah, Prince Mahnweh, Winston, Arkie J. Tarr, among others, for donating blood voluntarily and free of charge.A cross section of celebrants singing the national anthem at the start of the eventShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Dr. Barnes gives blood
…over 6000 pregnancies recorded in 2 yearsAfter over one year of research and consultations, the National Policy for the Reintegration of Adolescent Mothers into the Formal Education System was on Monday released to the Education Ministry.UNICEF Representative Sylvie Fouet presenting the policy to Education Minister Nicolette HenryWith this initiative – that will be implemented soon – many adolescent mothers will be given an opportunity to complete their formal secondary education and the system will also be used as a preventative measure whereby stakeholders will be sensitized to ensure that the policy is effective.Present at the launch of the policy framework document was the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative, Sylvie Fouet, who highlighted that Guyana is second on the list for the highest number of teenage mothers in the Caribbean and Latin America, with about 97 births for every 1000 teenage girls. It is also in close range with The Dominican Republic which tops he list.Some alarming statistics according to her reveal that, “Teen pregnancy is about 20 to 22 per cent or about one out of five teenage girls below the age of 19.”Among the 15 factors that lead to teenage pregnancies as highlighted in the study, it was revealed that some of them include school dropouts, lack of knowledge and difficult relationships with parents and family members, poverty, incest, exploitation and sexual abuse.During interactions with teen mothers, most of them had thoughts of illegal abortion and abandoning their newborn child.Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer Marcel Hutson highlighted that unsuccessful attempts by the Education Ministry to bring awareness in the past could be blamed on the lack of a framework document to use as a guide when dealing with such situations.“A factor that must not be discounted is that many adolescent pregnancies maybe a consequence of forced sex, rather than consensual or risky sexual behaviour and therefore we have a responsibility to protect those girls.”Brief remarks were also given by Education Minister Nicolette Henry who noted that this is a way of modernising education in Guyana.“Teenage pregnancy is a complex issue which has multiple contributing factors that are common knowledge to many. It is a symptom of a bigger societal sickness. It is now just a health issue, but a development issue that is deep-rooted in poverty, gender inequality, violence, child forced marriages, and power imbalances between teenage girls and their partners,” she said.In 2015, some 3712 girls were reported pregnant while in 2016, a total of 3032 were recorded. In both cases, the age range was between 15 to19 years.