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2/2/2016 - Liberia - A visit to bring hope
Photo for the article -LIBERIA – A VISIT TO BRING HOPE

(ANS - Monrovia) - Yesterday afternoon, 1 February, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, began the second leg of his African trip, going to Liberia, a country still sorely tested by Ebola, and one where children suffer many problems. His visit to that situation is an appeal not to lose hope.

According to UNICEF, the mortality rate of children under five years in the country is among the top five in the world. 40% of children under five are under-developed due to malnutrition. The children orphaned by Ebola are in addition to the more than 200 thousand children orphaned by 14 years of civil war, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

Over 300,000 Liberian children aged between 6 and 11 do not attend school, and two-thirds of those who do go to school have unqualified teachers. 25% of boys and 32% of girls drop out of school during the first cycle and 20% of young people between 15 and 24 years are illiterate. Most of the children not receiving education come from poor parents.

The Salesians have been in Liberia since 1979, working on behalf of children and young people most in need. They have built two schools for them in Monrovia with places for 1200 students. They also started a school outside Monrovia, now handed over to the diocese in Tapita, and the Don Bosco Polytechnic, now "Stella Maris Politechnic". They worked for the recovery of child soldiers and street children, and assisted more than 500 families during the Ebola outbreak. Even today, through the "Ebola Orphans" programme they are giving food, education and health care to more than 200 young people.

According to Fr Nicola Ciarapica, Salesian missionary in Liberia, "Fr Angel Fernandez Artime will celebrate the feast of Don Bosco again among the children and young people of the two Salesian works in Monrovia. We want to show our gratitude to Don Bosco and Fr Ángel, who are close to us and accompany us in carrying out the Salesian mission on behalf of the youth of this country. Through them we say a sincere thanks to the many benefactors and friends for their contributions and financial and other support."

Published 02/02/2016

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