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Crime & PunishmentGeneralLiberia news

178 At-Risk Youth prepare for graduation

By Kruah Thompson 

At least 178 at-risk youth have completed the Government of Liberia’s rehabilitation program and are gearing up for graduation in the next two weeks.

These young individuals, once facing various challenges and risks, have now completed a rigorous rehabilitation program aimed at providing them with essential life skills, education, and support to reintegrate into society positively.

Speaking during turnover ceremony at the Ministry of Health in Congo Town, former Health Minister Dr. Wilhemina S. Jallah, revealed that in two weeks, the at-risk youth group will be reintegrated back into society to reunite with their families.

On June 30, 2022, the Government of Liberia in collaboration with the One UN System in Liberia launched the At-Risk Youth program intended to take youthful Liberians who are addicted to drugs off the streets.

About a year ago, after former President Weah launched a US$13 million rehabilitation program in 2022 for drug-addicted youth, a committee was established with the goal of assisting 500 individuals per year through counseling sessions, vocational training, educational workshops, and recreational activities tailored to meet specific needs of each participant.

The rehabilitation program, spearheaded by local authorities in collaboration with community organizations and NGOs, focused on addressing the root causes of delinquency and providing comprehensive support to participants.

Over the course of several months, the Assistant Minister for Curative Services at the Ministry of Health and Head of the Technical Working Group for the At-Risk Youth Program, Dr. Gborbee G. Logan, disclosed that Liberia was grappling with 47,917 at-risk youth.

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Dr. Logan, on Thursday, July 13, 2023, at one of the Ministry of Information’s weekly briefings in Monrovia, explained that several mapping exercises were conducted across the country, including an assessment in 2022 on 13,244 At-risk youth identified in 396 different taskforces from all 15 counties.

He disclosed at the time that subsequent training phases were scheduled for August, September, and November, respectively, for the group.

According to a release issued under the signature of Deputy Information Minister Jarlawah A.Tonpo, the Government of Liberia through the National Steering Committee for the At-Risk Youth program started the recruitment on August 21, witnessing 105 at-risk youths being documented.

“Out of the 105 registered at-risk youth, 88 are males while 17 are females,” Tonpo said.

However, the impending graduation ceremony serves as a significant milestone for the graduates, marking not only their successful completion of the rehabilitation program but also their readiness to embrace a brighter future.

While Dr. Jallah did not give full details of the graduation ceremony, she indicated that the first batch of graduates will be coming out in two weeks’ time.

As these one hundred seventy-eight at-risk youth prepare to receive their certificates of completion, they serve as shining examples of resilience, determination, and the potential for positive change within every individual.

The pending graduation does not only signifies personal growth and achievement but also underscores the importance of investing in rehabilitation programs to support vulnerable youth and foster safer, more inclusive communities.

The graduation ceremony stands as a beacon of hope, symbolizing the transformative power of rehabilitation and the promise of a brighter future for all.

On the other hand, Dr. Jallah revealed that they have trained a total of 105 persons in prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services to help with the drug situation and at-risk youth across the country. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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