Liberia: Jewel Starfish Foundation Reaches Out to Beneficiaries

Traders in Monrovia's largest market district of Waterside on the morning the quarantine was lifted off West Point that's nearby.

The virulence of COVID-19 is having its toll on lives across the world and many people especially women and girls are falling prey to horrific domestic violence.

Given the presence of more than one thousand girls under its care across Liberia, the Jewel Starfish Foundation (JSF) believes that sitting idly during this crucial period is a gamble that it would not risk.

Hence, the organization's founder, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor has reached out to several beneficiaries in the densely populated township of West Point in Central Monrovia.

According to VP Taylor, the beneficiaries who were attended to on the eve of the State of Emergency announced by President George Manneh Weah are susceptible to stepping out to fend for food.

"They could get trapped in the process of coming out to find food," she indicated. "We have some of our scholarship recipients under the Jewel Starfish Foundation that live here in West Point and we know how difficult things will be. The President has asked that we shut down the country, at least Montserrado County will be shut down. I don't want these girls to be left without food because they would come outside to find food and some of them would be lost," she added.

The JSF founder said the distribution of food and Anti-COVID-19 materials is the foundation's way of staying committed to ensuring that they are safe and able to return to Ricks Mission Institute where they are schooling.

The longtime champion of girls' education noted that these girls are still nursing the blunt of surviving the More Than Me sex scandal and were taken by the Jewel Starfish Foundation to be catered to through high school and college.

"I want to make sure that those people we have made a commitment to across the country are reached as much as we can during this difficult moment; so that at least they can have something to eat during the period of the shutdown and they will have no need to come outside," the Vice President stressed.

Joanna Brown, one of the recipients of the assorted items, expressed her appreciation to the Vice President for always going beyond the ordinary to provide their needs. She is optimistic that the gesture will blossom if it reaches as many young underprivileged girls as possible across Liberia.

Additionally, the Foundation reached out to over 50 beneficiaries from other parts of Montserrado County and provided bags of rice, COVID-19 buckets, soap, sanitary pads, gloves, nose masks and tokens to help underprivileged girls and their mothers cope in these tough times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

VP Jewel Howard-Taylor, founder of JSF and the organization's partners were lauded for their support towards the beneficiaries who are in dire need.

The Jewel Starfish Foundation's initiative comes at a time when the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres said "We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19, but they can trap women with abusive partners. Over the past weeks, as the economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying surge in domestic violence."

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