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We ALL need healing to some degree.
All who are involved in the perpetual process of –becoming– need to heal past wounds inflicted and sustained.
In order to heal we look within to deepen self-discovery and look without for places and spaces that nourish and cultivate our growth.
We intuitively know to go to water, to mountains, to green spaces to seek solace and soothe our jangled nerves. We know that plugging into the beauty and natural rhythms of the Earth recharges, re-centers and balances us.

Women and girls in particular who have suffered all manner of trauma share the story of the Earth whose body is incessantly violated and desecrated.

To demonstrate compassion toward, work with and address the current travails of the Earth is to honor the vast part of ourselves that is female. Extending compassion to the Earth in gratitude heals us as it heals the planet..

Mother Nature, Mother Earth is our collective mother who gives us life and sustains us all in each moment. So to extend compassion and safeguard the Earth activates our inherent inter-connectedness for the good of our individual and collective wellbeing. Working physically with the soil, spending meditative time in green spaces and proactively working to address the deep wounds that the planet has sustained are healing acts of self-love, love of one another, and gratitude toward the planet which provides the platform for our evolution.

BUILDING FOUNDATIONS:
The Monrovia Girls’ Wellness Center maximizes its impact through strategic partnerships with:
1) service providers, 2) American Industry, 3) American & Liberian technical assistance experts, 4) Liberian national and international NGOS.

Healing Component

• A team of mental health professionals, traumatologists and holistic health care practitioners is ready to deploy to Liberia to treat girls
• A team of health professionals and systems managers is working on the Center database, and operating procedures to support the Liberia team from the US.
• Chief Prosecutor of the Gender-based Sexual Violence Unit, Special Court E in the Ministry of Justice is prepared to refer girls to the Center
• American herbal products manufacturers are prepared to donate product
• The Rotary International Gift of Life program is making arrangements for Delta Airlines to donate health care practitioner airfares to Monrovia
• Liberian partners in Monrovia have identified properties for the Girls’ Center and practitioner dorm
• The Girls’ Center is networked in Monrovia with five primary NGO partners for referral purposes in the following areas:
~~~2 residential safe-houses for girls and women in crisis
~~~1 literacy and jobs training program
~~~1 medical clinic
~~~1 nursing and trauma training center

Anti-trafficking – Jobs Creation: Organic Medicinal Herb Production

Industry:
A premier American herbal products manufacturer, has designated the Restoration – Girls Wellness Center as a sourcing site for organic medicinal herbs. Manufacturer’s Global Sourcing Division will help design and oversee the production process from seed to final product to ensure that the product meets the company’s exacting standards.

Vermont organic medicinal herb growers are prepared to structure, train Liberians and participate in all aspects of the agricultural dimension of herbal products manufacturing
• Advisory &Technical Assistance
~~~US Pharmacopea
~~~American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)
~~~University of Liberia: College of Agriculture and Forestry
• NGO Partners: WAYLA is partnered with the consortium of Mission Liberia, and AGRHA an International Agriculture NGO with a West African regional reach

Restoration – Girls’ Wellness Center, Monrovia, Liberia
Background

The Women and Youth Leadership Alliance (WAYLA) will implement the first of four phases planned for the Restoration-Girls’ Wellness Center in Monrovia, Liberia; spring, 2011. WAYLA will send teams of mental health and holistic healthcare practitioners during Phase I to provide services to Liberian girls, and train women who have survived decades of brutal, gender-based sexual violence used as a tool of war during the country’s 14 year civil conflict.
The Restoration Girls Wellness Center will also treat survivors of child rape, incest, child prostitution and trafficking which remain rampant in post-conflict Liberia.

Girls’ Wellness Center Goals:

Phase I – Treatment: American mental health and holistic healthcare practitioners provide wellness services to girls and women who are survivors of gender-based sexual violence, child prostitution and human trafficking

Phase II – Local Capacity Building: Practitioners train and certify Liberian women to:
1. provide holistic wellness services to:
~girls and women in their own communities
~expatriate communities
2. become small scale organic medicinal herb growers,
3. work in herbal product manufacturing
4. work in retail herbal product distribution

Phase III – Jobs Creation; Anti-poverty/Trafficking prevention: Create jobs in fields of alternative healing/medicine and organic medicinal herb farming that provide girls and women with viable economic alternatives to trafficking and child prostitution

Phase IV – Regional Export: West Africa & Micro-financing: Liberian women
entrepreneurs; organic medicinal herb growers.

Target Population: referrals for ongoing treatment: Minimum of (case-file documented) 100 girls and 100 women; i.e. 600 persons calculated in households during Phase I, year one, 1800 in Phase II, year two.

The Women and Youth Leadership Alliance (WAYLA) has established strategic business alliances with:
1. American herbal products manufacturers and medicinal herb growers
2. American mental health and holistic health practitioners:
a) Practitioner Teams serving in Liberia,
b) a US-based, Restoration Project Governance Team.
3. Liberian government and local NGO partners; prepared to refer girls and to the Restoration- Girls’
Wellness Center
4. Liberian agricultural co-operatives

STATEMENT OF NEED: LIBERIA

Elevated Child Rape Rates

Child rape in post-conflict Liberia has become the norm. In the aftermath of a civil war during which armed rebels murdered, raped and looted their way through the country with impunity, girls and young women are still not safe. Child rape rates are currently as elevated as they were during the war. Government officials, aid workers and community leaders report that rape attacks happen daily. The UN estimates that 75% -92% of girls and women in and around Monrovia have experienced some form of sexual violence, including rape.

Poverty and Trafficking; the Delivery Mechanism of Child Prostitution

As Liberia, a country with an 85% unemployment rate rebuilds in the aftermath of a Civil War which decimated its economy, abject poverty has increased the vulnerability of children to trafficking. Schooling came to an abrupt halt during 14 years of civil war. A lack of education for girls combined with elevated poverty indicators, are linked as driving forces behind sex trafficking. A direct cyclical correlation has been documented. When adults cannot work because of a depressed economy and lack of employment opportunities, many families, as a means of feeding themselves, sell their young daughters to traffickers who prostitute them.

Background: Liberian Trafficking

Liberia is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Girls and young women are trafficked within the country from rural to urban areas for forced domestic servitude, street vending, begging, and sexual exploitation in brothels or private apartments.

SUMMARY
IF, as is the case: Victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from debilitating depression; six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder; thirteen times more likely to abuse alcohol; twenty-six times more likely to abuse drugs; and four times more likely to contemplate suicide….. AND
IF, as is the case: Girls and women who have suffered decades of sexual violence form the foundation of Liberia’s future development progress…..
THEN: Receipt of mental health services that facilitate psychological and healing, turnkey occupational training of Liberian girls and women and jobs creation are essential factors in ensuring the country’s development.
Liberia must heal its girls and women if the country is to anchor its peace-building, reconstruction and development process on a foundation of emotionally and psychologically
stable citizenry.

The Liberian Civil War has come to an end. Yet rape of Liberian girls and women is still used as a weapon. The International Rescue Committee reports:
12 % of girls aged 17 and under report having suffered sexual violence
28 % of cases treated by Doctors Without Borders involve children aged 4 or younger,
33 % involve children aged 5 through 12.
61% of gender-based sexual violence cases involve children aged 12 or under

The Women and Youth Leadership Alliance (WAYLA) sends teams of women Holistic and Mental Health practitioners to treat girls and women who have survived gender-based sexual violence to the Restoration Girls Wellness Center in Monrovia, Liberia
ACT NOW:
Watch Spotlight on Girls Liberia YouTube clip. Learn what is happening to girls in Liberia: http://www.youtube.com/user/PamelaBoyceSimms

Make a donation to support direct health services to Liberian girl survivors and training to women: womenandyouthleadershipallianc-wayla.com

Mental health & holistic health practitioners, JOIN US – October 23 Healers Braintrust Meeting, 10:00AM – 1:00 PM at the Madison Wellness Center, 171 Madison Avenue Room 908, New York, 10016.
RSVP for the Practitioners Meeting at: (973) 216-6170 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (973) 216-6170      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
EDUCATE PEOPLE. SPREAD THE WORD………..

We’ve all been outraged by heinous atrocities born by girls and women trapped in war zones around the world. The time to ACT is long overdue. JOIN US…. to make an immediate, impactful difference in the lives of Liberian girl and women survivors of brutal, gender-based sexual violence used as a tool of war during the country’s 14 year Civil War. Child rape, prostitution and trafficking remains rampant in post-conflict Liberia.

The Women and Youth Leadership Alliance (WAYLA)
will send the first of several teams of mental health and holistic healthcare practitioners to the Restoration Girls Wellness Center in Monrovia, Liberia in the spring of 2011.
Girls’ Wellness Center goals are:

~ TREATMENT:
Provide wellness services to girls and women who are survivors of gender-based
sexual violence, child prostitution and human trafficking

~ LOCAL CAPACITY BUILDING:
Train and certify Liberian women to provide holistic wellness
services to girls and women in their own communities and/or become small scale organic
medicinal herb growers and herbal product producers

~ POVERTY/TRAFFICKING PREVENTION:
Create jobs in fields of affordable alternative medicine and
organic medicinal herb farming that provide girls and women with viable economic alternatives to
trafficking and child prostitution.

ACTION STEPS YOU CAN TAKE:

• Watch Spotlight on Girls Liberia YouTube clip. Learn what is happening to girls in Liberia:
http://www.youtube.com/user/PamelaBoyceSimms

• Make a donation to support direct health services to Liberian girl survivors and training to
women: womenandyouthleadershipalliance-wayla.com

• JOIN US –Mental health & holistic health practitioners — ATTEND an October 23
Healers Braintrust Meeting 10:00AM – 1:00 PM at the Madison Wellness Center, 171 Madison
Avenue Room 908, New York, 10016.
RSVP for the Practitioners Meeting at: (973) 216-6170 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (973) 216-6170      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

• EDUCATE PEOPLE. SPREAD THE WORD………..

Members of the Spotlight on Girls, Trenton television crew are looking forward to an exciting cross-cultural exchange with girls of the “Story Scarves” Goodwill Movement in Johannesburg, South Africa. The young women will share scarves they have created which tell each girl’s personal story. Technology has narrowed the distance across oceans; bringing the girls face to face to learn about one another’s culture through video-forum conversations. The two groups of young women
will also work together on a segment of a Spotlight on Girls television show.

The Spotlight-Story Scarves connection is a straightforward yet powerful exchange of shared experiences to foster girls’ understanding of themselves, and how others navigate the world in which they live.

CELEBRATING TRANSFORMATIONAL WORK OF LIBERIAN WOMEN IN DIASPORA

SUPPORTING AND ENCOURAGING ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE FOR LIBERIAN GIRLS AT HOME

–FRISIKES FEST –2010 IS A RESOUNDING SUCCESS

http://www.friskiesfest.org

The vision, passion,  and follow-through of Liberian girls and women in Diaspora  in the US have clothed, supported, and EDUCATED thousands of Liberian girls and uplifted families in Monrovia and beyond. The Spotlight on Girls Cross-cultural Diaspora Alliance is delighted and privileged to witness and document the work of Liberian women’s voluntary organization networks that fuel Liberian resilience in the aftermath of a protracted civil war.

Liberia, settled by free blacks from the United States has a history that is intricately intertwined with that of the United States. Liberian WOMEN made history when in 2005 they swept Ellen Sirleaf, the current President of Liberia…..the ONLY EVER, female African President….. into office.   Liberia is working to reestablish basic infrastructure services needed to support development. Education, interrupted by the civil war for more than a decade, is key to that rebuilding. Education is the single-pointed focus of the Friskies – SELF.

FRISKIES FEST, held  Saturday August 7, 2010, orchestrated by the St. Theresa’s Convent School (STC) Education and Leadership Fund (SELF) was yet another example of the transformational work of Liberian women in action. SELF members, all STC alumni, living in North Carolina, California, Georgia….. TX PA, NJ, MD etc. etc. converged in Philadelphia for three days of events that strengthened the group’s funding momentum for the “Litmus Project,” which will equip a new science lab for their alma mater in Monrovia.

Spotlight on Girls Television & New Media applauds the exemplary work of the Friskies, SELF  (STC) alumni in the US, and the vision of Liberian women in Diaspora throughout the world who support  their country and its youth.

SEE: http://www.friskiesfest.org

Amazing, frank conversation about local realities on the continent through the eyes you young people. http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/08/03/president-obama-young-african-leaders-50-years-now-when-you-look-back

The Spotlight Diaspora Alliance – African Heritage Subgroup:

  • is producing a Liberia-focused television show entitled: Halleluiah: Girls & Women United in Healing – Liberia. Distribution plans for the show target, cable television and public access media outlets in American cities where the largest Liberian communities in the US intersect with African American communities.  Education and audience-building are goals of this show in anticipation of a Spotlight on Girls documentary film about Liberian girls and women.

  • will photograph and film the 163rd Liberian Independence Celebration at the Liberian Embassy in Washington DC on July 24th.
  • will film and participate in Friskies Fest 2010 in Philadelphia, PA from August 6-8. The festival is an annual event sponsored by the US-based alumni of the St. Theresa’s Convent (STC) School in Monrovia, who have formed a nonprofit organization called SELF to support Liberian girls’ educational needs. During Friskies Fest, accomplished Liberian women living in Diaspora in the US pay homage to their countrywomen for their achievements and contributions to the Liberian community.
  • interviewed the Honorable Felicia Coleman, Chief Prosecutor for the Gender-based Sexual Violence Unit, Liberian Ministry of Justice for inclusion in an upcoming Spotlight on Girls television show.

  • is in preproduction on a documentary film that tells the –healing stories– of resilient Liberian survivors of systemic gender-based sexual violence perpetrated during and in the aftermath of the civil war; and of a healing project in Liberia that engages women, men and families.

Spotlight on Girls Television & New Media Productions uses broadband distance learning technology to link television crews of American girls with young women around the globe. International partnerships, 1) inform TV crews’ coverage of global girls’ and women’s issues, and 2) spearhead the implementation of collaborative advocacy and media projects in our Diaspora partners’ nations of origin.

Spotlight on Girls Cross-cultural Diaspora Alliance

African Heritage Subgroup – Liberia Brief

OVERVIEW: Women United in Healing Project

Goals
1. Enhance the quality of life and opportunities for self-fulfillment among:
•    Liberian girls and women in Liberia
•    Liberian girls and women in Diaspora in the US
•    African American girls and women in Diaspora in the US
2. Inform and build healing bridges between Liberian and African American women.

Objectives:

1.    Enhance self-efficacy, mental and emotional wellness in the  aforementioned groups as critical success

factors underlying:
•    girls’ academic achievement
•    women’s financial independence
•    peacebuilding
2.    Produce a documentary film that chronicles the stories of girls and women involved in the

implementation of Diaspora Alliance work in Liberia to facilitate best practice sharing.

Methods:

1.    Recruit, train and deploy (from the US) teams of women of color mental health professionals to work in

rotations alongside related NGOs in Liberia.
2.    Ground and sustain Diaspora Alliance work in Liberia through:
•    building local capacity
•    girls and women’s media making on-site
•    regular radio broadcasts
•    cellular phone technology programming
•    television

3.     Support Diaspora Alliance work through networks of Liberian and  African American women in

Diaspora:
•    Expatriate social networks, (including electronic networks)

•    University campus women’s groups in cities targeted due to the presence of  large Liberian expatriate

communities.
•    University faculty, e.g. African and African American Studies, Women’s Studies