Laureant Simone, a 38-year-old French Cyclist, who is also Plan International Brand Ambassador, arrived in Liberia from Sierra Leone on July 4, 2019, in continuation of his West and Central Africa Regional Hub (WACAH) tour of Plan International Country Offices (COs) and Program Units (PUs) to put a smile on the faces of over one million children, specifically girls.
Simone, who commenced his tour from Canada in 2012, has visited 13 countries and 47 schools, meeting 10,000 children with the goal of giving every child he meets a dream to make a positive impact in society.
He is expected to cover 100,000 kilometers on a bicycle during his stay in Liberia, which is part of his West Africa tour segment that he started in August 2018, with the hope of ending the region's visit to Benin by early September 2019.
Mr. Simone's adventure presents an opportunity for him to advertise and promote the work of Plan International with children, most specifically girls around the world, as a personal initiative.
He carries food, equipment, and luggage on his bike, which is decorated with a banner and a flag, both branded with Plan International logo, traveling across several countries to visit children and young beneficiaries of Plan International Country Offices.
At a motivational session on July 10, 2019, organized by Plan International, Simone, at age 12, set a goal to tour the world, using bicycle with a big proposal and a single goal for Plan to put a smile on the face of every child, giving each one of them a dream to improve society.
The one-day motivational session, held in Monrovia, brought together over 50 participants representing Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the Ministry of Gender and beneficiaries of Plan International program.
Mr. Simone said his travel around the world has helped many children get back in school, "because I strongly believe that it's the only key to the world."
"Boys and girls need equal access to education," he said, "to make the children important in society; that is why Plan International is interested in working to give the value of life to every child."
Mr. Simone added, "If child marriage and teenage pregnancy must stop and we must have our girls educated and ready to face society, we need to work strongly together with one goal and speak with one voice."
Madam Evelyn Moorehead, Plan International Country Director, said building on their previous momentum, the institution is about to begin its five-year country strategy, which will have a specific focus on promotion and protection of girls' rights.
Madam Moorehead said Plan will continue to work with the government to support its Pro-Poor Agenda under Pillar 1 that gives power to the people.
"We will work with youth activists, community leaders, international partners, the media, CSO, and other duty bearers to ensure that girls in Liberia grow up equally valued and cared for in resilient communities, where they can enjoy bodily integrity and freedom from violence and harmful practices," Moorehead said.