Majority of these disadvantaged young people might fit within the category of those who were used during the 14 years of our country’s nasty civil conflict to fight and kill their own people, in the end to have their commanders, warlords and politicians take positions in government. When the war ended in 2003, majority of these youths were left out of the socio-economic and political processes, after a haphazard DDRR social reintegration program that left them ill-prepared to face the harsh realities of life after war.
Today, it is this same group of young people demanding jobs, even if they are not qualified. It is this same group of ill-prepared young people who believe it is their time to take state power and sit in the Executive Mansion, the Capitol Building and the Temple of Justice.
But why do they feel this way? Why do our young people have such sense of entitlement? It’s simple. They’ve seen how some of their former commanders and warlords continue to feed off the spoils of the war in various governance structures of the country. These young people know that it’s easier to become a government official through backdoor connections than through the merit system. For them, the rigors of school and college cannot be endured when they see other equally less qualified Liberians enjoying government largesse and stealing from state coffers in broad daylight. It therefore begs the question how we all can strive to change the mindset of our disadvantaged young people through education so that they can contribute meaningfully to national development.
Proffering Practical Solutions
On July 16, 2016, a group of young Liberians, led by Siokin Civicus Barsi-Giah, launched an innovative initiative dubbed: “Let’s Go To College After High School” in Buchanan city, Grand Bassa County.
According to Mr. Barsi-Giah, he started the initiative as a means of raising awareness, funds and support for less-fortunate young Liberians to obtain college education. “We intend to deal with three groups – serious college students with no means to continue their education; poor high school students that need assistance to complete high school and get ready for college; and active athletes in need of college scholarship.
A product of hardship himself, Barsi-Giah had to endure a lot of hardship to obtain higher education. “It was tough getting to college. I had to work my way through an athletic program at Cuttington University in Bong County and later at Houston-Tillotson University in Austin Texas to get to where I am today,” he tells Capitol Times.
Barsi-Giah believes the youth of this country don’t deserve what they are going through, and need all the help to accelerate their lives. “This is why when I came back, I had to start this initiative to ensure our young brothers and sisters get their lives on track by going to college after high school,” he says.
An honorary board member of the Greater Austin Black Chambers of Commerce, and Board member of Gbawien Literacy Project Corporation, Barsi-Giah has won himself the National Character award at Huston Tillotson University, as well as becoming a member of the National Association of Black Accountants. He is the current chairman of the Intellectual Class Inc, National Coordinator for Africa Youth Coalition Against Hunger - Liberia, Founder of the Citizens Initiative of Total Empowerment, and Vice-Chairman of the Gbawien Literacy Corporation.
The Buchanan city launch of Barsi-Giah’s innovative “Let Go to College After High School” program was graced by Montserrado County Representative Munah E. Pelham-Youngblood who served as Guest Speaker, and Mr. Cassell A. Kuoh, Vice President for Operations, Liberia Football Association, who was Chief Launcher.