Morocco: Scholarship Students in Morocco 'Living in Hell'

They were sent to Morocco for study by the the Government of Liberia, which promised to take care of them. But now, they say, they are living in hell.

This situation is the story of 84 Liberian students studying various disciplines in Morocco on a government scholarship, who say they have been neglected by their benefactors, to suffer in a foreign country.

"We are suffering and, every day that passes by, things are getting worse to the extent that we are not getting any word from our government back home, neither the embassy officials here. Unlike other scholarship students here, we are living a double life; we have to study to score the required grade points, and at the same time, we have to hustle to find food for ourselves," John Singbae II informed the Daily Observer.

Student Singbae is one of the leaders of the Liberian students in Morocco. He informed this newspaper that their current situation makes them feel as though they are being neglected by the Liberian government, most especially authorities at the Ministry of Education (MoE), "because we have informed them through various means of communication and on numerous occasions. Yet they have not intervened."

While narrating further their present hardship, Singbae added that a year ago, they signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the MOE for a monthly allowance of at least US$300 for each student's bills, including rental fee for an apartment, electricity, water, transportation, and feeding; however, they have not received a dime from the government since then.

"In November 2018, the government sent 54 students to join the 30 others already in Morocco to study different disciplines, but since the students arrived there, the GoL has not lived up to the terms and conditions of the MoU.

"Since last year up to now, students here have not received a cent from the government, nor has the government communicated to us about the cause of the delay in remitting our monthly allowances," Singbae lamented.

He also said the situation has made life unbearable for the Liberian students studying on the government's scholarship, as they cannot afford electricity and water bills, transportation to go for classes, or even find food to eat.

"Worst of all," Singbae said, "when any of our colleagues become ill, that student is left at the mercy of God, because of the obvious reason: there is no money for medication."

He said at present, three of the students are down with various ailments for the last two months; but because there are no monthly allowances, they have not been to the hospital, rather looking up to divine intervention.

"As it stands, we are experiencing real hard time, and there has been no concern from the Liberian government despite our engagements with the authorities," Singbae said.

The young Liberian scholar further explained that the situation has forced some of his colleagues to start asking their parents back home for monthly allowances, but such help is not forthcoming.

"To survive, we have to find a way to get money for food and transportation -- a condition which, in itself, has defeated the essence of the scholarship," he said.

To further exacerbate the situation, some of the students have received warning notices from the Moroccan authorities to pay their water bills or else they will be switched off from the country's water and electricity main lines.

Latim DaThong, Deputy Education for Administration, who corroborated the students' woes, informed our reporter that the government is working on the situation.

"We are working on the situation, and very soon (in a week or two), we will make the funds available," DaThong told this newspaper via mobile phone.

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