Focus 2007

Liberia 2007 - AFW15-02-2007

Project: Salesian presence in Liberia
Date of foundation: 1979
Place: Africa West (Anglophone) AFW
Province: AFW

Of the 28 years that the Salesians have been present in Liberia, thirteen of them (1990-2003) were marred and endangered by civil war and turmoil in the country.
Nonetheless, although constantly displaced by the varying gains and losses of the combatants, a small number of Salesians braved danger and possible death to carry on their apostolate to the young wherever there was the opportunity.
Once a shaky ceasefire had been established in 2003, the Salesians concentrated on the needs of the young in their Youth Centre and daily Oratory in the Matadi area of Monrovia.
Most young people’s lives had been disrupted by the war years. Some had suffered complete deprivation of formal education. Others had only a scanty and frequently interrupted schooling. A number had been conscripted or kidnapped as child soldiers and exposed to physical and moral dangers.

The aim of the Matadi Youth Centre and Oratory was and still is the restoration of normality to the youngsters’ lives and to re-awaken in them the need for education and religion. Young people of every religion or none are made welcome. Followers of Islam are just as welcome as Christians, those of traditional religion or unbelievers .
Through informal education youngsters are prepared for formal schooling. Sharing in sport and all the various activities available restores self-confidence and the joy of life to youngsters whose life had been overshadowed by war, violence, bloodshed, death, loss of family life and general insecurity. A religious atmosphere helps them to become aware of their spiritual needs and the Youth Centre Director is always available for consultation and guidance.

Today, with their new, democratically elected President, Liberians are hoping for a better, more prosperous and more secure future. Our Salesians in Monrovia are contributing all they can to ensure that as many young people as possible will reach that goal.