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Liberia


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Post-Ebola Liberia struggles with economic, orphan and basic services challenges

From refugee to teacher
Presbyterians help Liberian man found the first school in the isolated region of Twarbo in post-war Liberia

For nearly 18 months life ground to a halt in Liberia. The Ebola virus not only ravaged the people, it robbed them of their ability to provide for their families. The deadly disease took away more than people’s health: businesses and schools closed, flights in and out of the country were suspended, and Liberians felt abandoned by the international community.  The Liberian Council of Churches (LCC), a partner of the ministries supported by One Great Hour of Sharing, voiced prayers and sought help for those in need, especially the thousands of children left orphaned by the epidemic and further abandoned by their communities.  “During the Ebola crisis, we felt the ecumenical community abandoned us, especially in North America,” says Rev. Kortu Brown, vice president of the LCC. “But the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) stood by us and kept the line of communication open.”—2016 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study. Read more

Background

Liberia is Africa’s oldest republic, but it became better known in the 1990s for its long-running, ruinous civil war that has displaced thousands of civilians. Although freed American slaves founded the country, present-day Liberia is mostly inhabited by indigenous Africans, with the descendants of slaves making up only about 5 percent of the population.

This nation was relatively calm until 1980, when William Tolbert was overthrown. The coup marked the end of dominance by the minority Americo-Liberians, who had ruled since independence, but heralded a period of instability. By the late 1980s arbitrary rule and economic collapse culminated in civil war when Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) militia overran much of the countryside, entering the capital in 1990. Fourteen years of civil war ended with the departure of Liberia’s president Charles Taylor in August 2003.

In November 2005 Liberia elected a new president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf — the first woman to be elected as an African head of state. But she inherits a country in ruins. Just about anything of any value was either destroyed or looted during the fighting.

The PC(USA)’s Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has been working with the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Liberia in its efforts to bring food relief and services to displaced Liberians.

Liberia Partner Churches and Organizations

Christian Council of Liberia

Learn more about Liberia

See the 2016 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, Feb. 4.

Visit the BBC country profile

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