West Africa Initiative
One local villager said, “The most significant thing is...the value and importance of working together. We have learned and benefited so much from each other.”
For nearly 18 months, life ground to a halt in Liberia. The Ebola virus not only ravaged the people, it robbed them of their ability to provide for their families. The deadly disease took away more than people’s health: businesses and schools closed, flights in and out of the country were suspended, and for those inside the country, there was a sense of abandonment from the international community.
As the economy deteriorated and people fled the region, the Liberian Council of Churches, a partner of the ministries supported by One Great Hour of Sharing, stayed to pray with families and seek help for those in need, especially the thousands of children left orphaned by the virus and further abandoned by their communities. “People are afraid of the children and don’t want to be near them, even though the disease is now gone,” says Rev. Kortu Brown. “This will be a long road to recovery for the children.” Helping these children has been especially important, as their abandonment mirrors the experience of the Liberian Council of Churches as a whole. Brown says, “During the Ebola crisis, we felt the ecumenical community abandoned us, especially in North America. But the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) stood by us and kept the line of communication open.”
The three programs supported by One Great Hour of Sharing, (Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People) have been working together to help both Liberia and Sierra Leone rebuild and rehabilitate. The partnership though, began much earlier when the West Africa Initiative was started in 2007, following years of civil wars, with the goal to improve food security and the economic status of individuals, families, and communities.
The communities involved in the West Africa Initiative have experienced the same crisis as their neighbors, but the work supported through One Great Hour of Sharing has supported their resiliency. Thanks to your continued support and the efforts of the OGHS programs to remain connected to their partners in the region, these communities are now on the road to economic recovery and able to support the orphaned children abandoned in their midst with access to education.
Your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing support strong, compassionate, and resilient partners in West Africa on their long journey of recovery. Your generous and consistent support has brought gifts of sustainable development and food security and joined them with the gifts of creativity, expertise, and commitment of our church partner there. The impact has been communities that remain resilient in the face of the most difficult circumstances, and the knowledge that, in their time of great crisis and abandonment, the most important gift
of your presence and commitment does not disappear.
Please, give generously to One Great Hour of Sharing to help support the progress in West Africa.
Learn more about the work carried out by One Great Hour of Sharing partners with this interactive map.