Ms. Blama is finding a new way forward
Ms. Blama’s story is one of resilience, of finding hope.
Like most Liberians, she was just a child when the war broke out. During the war, in hopes of surviving, she fled into “the bush”, the untamed lands of Liberia’s tropical forest. During those 14 long years of an intensely brutal war, she bore children.
The very day she delivered triplets, she was raped repeatedly by rebel forces.
She was then captured by the rebels and held as a prisoner. She escaped once, but unsuccessfully. They “chopped” her, as she describes her own experience. She finally escaped into Sierra Leone becoming a refugee. She eventually made her way back to Liberia but remained living in the bush with her children. She was too traumatized to re-enter society.
When RESTORE HOPE learned of Ms. Blama, our team in Kolahun brought her into the community. With ongoing psychosocial counseling, Ms. Blama is finding a new way forward.
As she says, she can now “go amongst her friends”.
With RESTORE HOPE’s intervention and ongoing support, she now counsels other women who’ve gone through such trauma.
Her children are attending school and she’s become a weaving instructor in the Women’s Weaving Cooperative, supported by RHL. We are proud to know her.
Your financial contribution will help others, like Ms. Blama, find a new way forward. Join our community, become part of Restore Hope’s family of donors, and give a most meaningful gift this season.
Meet Manbu — He loves to fix and build things!
Children need to play.
For children to reach their fullest physical, emotional and spiritual development, play is critical. Children who don’t play, don’t thrive. This is especially true for children who have suffered through war, natural disasters, epidemics, death and loss, and separation from loved ones. Even in survival, their lives have been forever changed.
There are no toys or games in places like Liberia, where the opportunities to play are often non-existent. But kids are amazingly inventive: A tightly wrapped ball of rags can become a soccer ball, a simple barrel hoop or old bike wheel, plus a stick, becomes a classic hoop-and-stick toy. And for some kids we see in Liberia, an empty tin can tied to a long piece of string becomes a favorite pull-toy. Imagination does the rest.
And for kids like Manbu, a 10-year-old 5th grader, imagination knows no bounds. The first thing you notice about Manbu is his drive to invent and create. Whenever we see him, he seems to have a new toy or other creation, made from found materials - recycled sticks and twigs, plastic bottles, string and wire, an old broken LED flashlight, taken apart and repurposed. From what you or I would regard as junk or trash emerge a helicopter, a toy truck with electric lights, a bench and table for his mother, a solar-powered cooking stove.
Appropriately, Manbu’s favorite subjects at school are math and science. “I like to fix things,” he told us, “and I want to be an engineer.” How did he learn to connect the batteries to the lights on his truck? “On my own,” he said matter-of-factly.
So far, Manbu’s world does not extend beyond Kolahun. But he hopes one day to go away to college and become an engineer. And after that? “I want to come back to help my mom, brother, and sister, and also my community.”
Perhaps Manbu will be one of those who get the lights back on in Kolahun, solarizes the wells and pump stations, and builds the new irrigation and flood control systems. There are many bright, young minds like Manbu in Liberia, and poverty should not be a deterrence for them to reach their full potential.
Shyly, near the end of our interview with Manbu, he wondered aloud if RESTORE HOPE: LIBERIA might help him go to college one day.
We’re working on it, Manbu, we’re working on it!