Hundreds of prisoners and children of ex-inmates are currently benefiting from a scholarship scheme being offered by Prison Fellowship Liberia.
Rev. Francis Kollie, Executive Director of Prison Fellowship, disclosed this to journalists over the weekend in Sinkor, Monrovia.
The scholarship scheme, according to Rev. Kollie, follows a re-launch of scholarships to prisoners’ children in four out of the 15 counties of Liberia.
He said the need for educating Liberian children, especially prisoners’ children, could not be overemphasized. He explained that it was essential to protect those children from future adventures since there was the likelihood that they could follow misguided company and find themselves behind bars like some of those who were convicts and inmates.
Rev. Kollie intimated that his organization had targeted four major counties, Bong, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Montserrado Counties. “These counties are just the ones we can engage for now,” he added.
The Prison Fellowship Liberia boss further told journalists that the first phase of the scholarship scheme will target at least 58 schools in the four counties.
Prison Fellowship had in the past offered scholarships to inmates’ children with support from the United States government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The program came to an end owing to lack of support from USAID.
“Let me state this with much honesty that we at Prison fellowship Liberia really did appreciate the US government through USAID for the support they gave our children, I mean the prisoners’ children in the past. It is also important for me to say that because of the support in times past, a lot of children who were found in that category received support,” Rev. Kollie disclosed.
He, however, made a passionate appeal to the US government to see reason in extending a helping hand to his team considering the increase in inmates across the country.
Rev. Kollie said funding for the current scholarship scheme implemented by his organization was made available through an international humanitarian organization called Friends of Prisoners based in Swaziland.
He disclosed that at least US$150,000 was provided for the program for a period of three years.
“These kinds of intervention by our international partners such as the one from Friends of Prisoners is indicative of the resounding progress we as a people are making in positively impacting the lives of our people, including those vulnerable children scattered in prison centers within our borders,” Rev. Kollie further intimated.
“It is therefore my hope and prayer that as this program comes to an end after the three-year period or even now, others within the international circle, including Liberia, will feel the compulsion to lend a helping hand to prisoners as a means of fighting poverty and other societal ills,” Rev. Kollie asserted.
He said their work was also in support of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) that was introduced almost four years ago by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Last Updated (Saturday, 09 October 2010 14:19)