I come from a Country where stories about different issues are told. Liberia over a period 14years of civil unrest has led to many damages:Our education and health systems, our waters are contaminated and we are insecure due to the high level of poverty and many more. "Standing Up" isn't just the physical standing up, it is the way we face and overcome life challenges. As long as we live there will be trade offs. In October 1998 while still in junior high school(9th grade) at age 12, my father who was every thing to me passed out. He left us with worries about how to live and continue schooling. My mother was jobless and had to sell in order to feed the family and the business was a small "hand to mouth" one, therefore we never had enough to pay school fees. As God could have it, a sister of my dad(aunt) took us in and started to pay school fees but there was a serious challenge."Lunch and Transportation"My sister and I will lap over and the cab driver will sometimes refuse and sometimes insult us. This was an everyday thing. These two factors are key in making the learning environment impossible. How can a hungry person learn?What about walking home or getting insults from cab drivers on a daily basis? This was so discouraging, I almost dropped out of school and then I stood up realizing that this situation was temporary and I am on the road to success through education. I begin to encourage my siblings. Today, I am 25years old with a B.Sc degree in Economics with distinction and also Executive Director of a young women group called "Progressive Young Women for Development"(PYWD). I can afford to take care of my basic needs, the needs of my family and even extend a hand to others. All of these hard times can be linked to war and poverty. Development can only take place when we sustain peace around the world. Today, I am calling all Liberians, Africans, and the world to stand tall against violence before and after elections as Liberia goes through a transition this year since the first post war elections in 2005. This transition will determine whether I have the opportunity to do masters or not and I can't let this affect me. To all young and old, you have specific needs and experience. "Violence cannot solve problems", it can only worsen. So stand up and stand tall for peace and success.
By: Patience Coleman LiberiaMy Story: Standing Up