The office of Mayor Jefferson TambaKoijee in collaboration with the West African Children Support Network (WACSN) has distributed assorted food items to over 400 vulnerable youth commonly called ‘zogos’ in Liberia.
The first distribution on Sunday at the Monrovia City Corporation Service Center on the UN Drive saw 400 of the vulnerable youth benefiting.
The beneficiaries were seen in queue as they sang congratulatory songs to the young Mayor and his partner as they received their food items.
They were heard in their Pidgin English “Dator you na do it for us again, you are the real father for us. Don’t disrespect our pa. Dator we will always praise you etc.
Addressing reporters following the distribution, Mayor Koijee recalled that the beneficiaries are on a project ‘City Maintenance Workers-CMW’ initiated by the Monrovia City Corporation to enablevulnerableyoung people to take care of the waste buckets in various positions across the city.
Mayor Koijee said they realized that the city waschallenged and initiated a project for the community and the people themselves to get involved in cleaning the city.
He further said the cleaning of the city can’t be with the city government alone and as such, they called for collective efforts in giving the city a facelift not only looking at the people who own properties, but the community and the people.
The head of the city government added “In doing this, we weren’t only looking at the abled people, but the vulnerable people, the less fortunate young people commonly called zogos.”
“They also matter despite their conditions, and people look up to them. I took upon myself and reached them in the ghettoes, and informed them how they can be productive and they first started as volunteers and they are about 625 hired to beminding thewastebuckets. They are there to ensure that if the skip buckets are filled to talk to the community people to take the wastes back home and return later when the buckets are empty. They are doing this both night and day,” he said.
According to Mayor Koijee, they are also into the planting of trees. He said they are to plant 250,000 trees, but they have planted the first 10,000 trees, saying the same vulnerable young people did that.
He said initially the project was very costly for the city and they couldn’t maintain beyond one year. He disclosed that the resources generated from the president’s pictures sale were used to pay members of the CMW giving each person LRD5, 000.00 per month for a year, but couldn’t continue due to financial constraints.
“We called them and informed them that we couldn’tcontinue the project so we were dissolving the project and we used to feed them every day. Some of them were getting to be transformed. They are at risk and sometimes they pose threats to the community.Some of them said even if we don’t pay them; they will continue working to take care of the buckets,” Mayor Koijee added.
For her part, Maria Luykeh of the West African Children Support Network (WACSN), a partner to the MCC said as a philanthropist she was moved by the good work of the young people as initiated by Mayor Koijee.
“We will support him not only in the city, but outside of the city as well. We want to empower the young girls in the streets. We have flour that has all the ingredients in it. Everything you think of and the only thing they need is water. We want to start doing business for them and hopefully they can start making their own money and stop hanging around the street,” Madam Luykeh said.