Ivorian refugees within the Glarlay Community of Zogeh District in Nimba County have expressed their unpreparedness to return home. They attributed their decision to the continuous volatile security situation, coupled with the destruction of their homes and lack of basic necessities of life in the western parts of the Ivory Coast.
The refugees made their decision in a meeting held recently with a delegation of the Ivorian Refugees Emergency Response Program headed by the Executive Director of Don Bosco Homes, David Conneh.
The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Mr. Conneh to officially announce the end of the program, which is a partnership of the Center for Justice and Peace Studies, Caritas-Gbarnga and Don Bosco Homes with support from the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development or CAFOD.
Speaking on behalf of the refugees, George’ Lucy (Lucy George) expressed gratitude to CJPS, Don Bosco Homes, Caritas-Gbarnga and CAFOD for the care and support during the six-month project, emphasizing the urgent need for its extension in consideration of their plight as refugees.
She appealed to the project partners for more skills training and educational programs as they continue to seek refuge in Glarlay and surrounding towns and villages in that part of Liberia.
The chief elder of Glarlay, otherwise known as Gbeadeh also praised the humanitarian groups for honestly discharging the duties as relief workers, expressing optimisms that CAFOD will see reason in supporting the CJPS, Don Bosco and Caritas-Gbarnga to continue rendering humanitarian services to the refugees from which they, as citizens of Glarlay and other towns and villages immensely benefit.
Elder Gbeadeh, on behalf of the people of the Glarlay Community, noted and appreciated the scarifies made by the partners despite the remoteness of the community from the rest of Nimba, and appealed to the NGOs not to completely pull out as a result of the end of the project.
In response, the Executive Director of Don Bosco Homes, Mr. David Conneh informed the refugees and their host communities that the project could not continue because its funding was from April to September 2011, and that the partners did not have extra money to continue.
Conneh has however put in place an interim management team, representing each of the partners and refugee communities to coordinate the affairs and facilities left behind for a period of six weeks, while efforts were being made to solicit funding in support of the Ivorian Refugees Emergency Response program in the Glarlay Community.
As partners, the CJPS, Don Bosco Homes and Caritas-Gbarnga with support from CAFOD provided relief food, skills training, basic social services, as well as shelters, including a child-friendly center for refugee children from which the host communities also benefitted.