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Since 1989, two civil wars have torn apart Liberia, and while the wars ended in 2003, the country is still undergoing reconstruction. Many of the Liberians returning home are poor, under-educated, and confronted with debilitating inflation. The majority of youth are unemployed and disillusioned; some took part in war crimes but are being integrated back into society.
The Liberian United Methodist Church has taken a major role in addressing many of the postwar issues. In addition to operating the well-known and well-respected Ganta Hospital, which is a major source of medical and training facilities in the country, the Liberian UM church has long addressed the need for vocational training and education. Skills training in industrial, agriculture, artistic, and home arts is vital to promoting and encouraging economic growth and development in urban and rural communities.
This training has become essential in providing opportunities to the “lost” generation of Liberian youth, whose childhood was shadowed by the atrocities of war. Providing them with vocational training through the Liberian UM’s Vocational Education Department’s work creates a skilled pool of citizens who can assist the country’s long-term revitalization of the nation’s infrastructure and programs. It also helps provide disenfranchised youth with opportunities that continue to promote the stabilization of the country.
The church also operates nearly 100 elementary and secondary schools, several colleges, and the University of West Africa.