-STAND helps mother regain her child

By Jerromie S. Walters

In many societies, there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and poverty, especially when it comes to women and motherhood. It is sadly not uncommon in Africa, especially Liberia but in some instances many of the victims have not braced the storm to speak out due to different factors.

One such example of this awkward stigma is the case of Patience Kamara, 28, who was on the verge of losing her newborn baby to her guardian who plotted to give the child to her younger sister (Because she couldn’t have a child). The plot was going as planned until Solidarity & Trust for A New Day (STAND), stepped in, and ensured that she [Patience] attained full ownership of her child.

The once-depressed mother whose solace has now been resuscitated by STAND, a grassroots movement devoted to advocating for justice, accountability, and the rights of marginalized communities in Liberia, told journalists over the weekend. “She took my child because she said I’m mad. She said I’m not sound so she wanted to give my child to her sister who can’t born.”

The genesis 

Patience Kamara’s ordeal began when she refused advances from her guardian’s husband. This ushered in her eviction and subsequent pregnancy. Patience Kamara used to live with a lady only identified as “Baby” in Congo Town [Next to Zone 3 Police station] and helped her with house chores. At a certain point, “Baby” husband, George allegedly attempted to have a (Sexual) affair with her [Patience] and she refused. 

Upon having “Baby” notified, Patience’s claim was refuted as “Baby” told her that she [Patience] wanted to create instability in her relationship and ruin her partner’s character.  Because of this, “Baby” asked Patience out of her house. Following her departure from “Baby”’s house, she got impregnated and later settled at Assatu’s place (another lady) in GSA Community, Paynesville. 

Months later, Patience bore a male child on February 14, 2024, at the ELWA Hospital in Paynesville. After her delivery, Assatu asked that she [Patience] go along with one of her relatives to attain full access to her child. This, Patience didn’t hesitate to do and quickly took “Baby” along with her. 

Following their engagement, the child was handed over to “Baby” but the aftermath of this was not good enough for Patience, as “Baby” claimed that Patience was mentally ill so she took custody of the child. 

Her words, “I went back to the same woman because I take her to be my sister because my mother is not living again. That day, we went to the woman they turned the baby over to her. She went to the Police station and told the police people that I’m mad. The people told me to sign so I said I couldn’t sign for my own child’s business that’s how I left the paper. She signed on her paper then the police people gave the child to her.”

Prior to that, the biological father of the child who currently resides in Congo Town denied having a connection with the child. Despite the biological father’s denial of paternity, Patience remains confident in her claim that he is the biological father of the child.

STAND’s intervention 

Enraged and depressed, upon being denied access to her newborn baby, Patience couldn’t withstand the agony at the time and even thereafter. She sought help from STAND, who intervened and helped her gain full ownership of her child. “After that, I went to one woman in Mount Barclay and explained it to her that’s how she said I will carry you on our program [STAND].”

Patience, “When I went to STAND and explained that’s how the Ambassador [Muna Farhat] said we should go to the place. She gave me 20 dollars US to find food to eat to breastfeed my child. When we reached there that day the woman said to give the girl child so she can give the child taytay, the woman (Baby) say I can’t give my child the taytay until we go back to Zone 5. In the morning, we went to the depot we met her there that’s how the police people said give the girl’s child to her. I explained to the police because I wanted to nurse my children and she said no.”

Moreover, Patience was resettled by STAND, as she was aided with shelter, food kind, and other necessities (For her and the child). She’s also expected to be empowered by the CSO (STAND) in the coming days or weeks. “I tell the Ambassador thank you, I tell Chairman thank you and I also tell STAND thank you.”

Solidarity & Trust for A New Day (STAND), is a grassroots movement dedicated to advocating for justice, accountability, and the rights of marginalized communities in Liberia. STAND’s platform resonated with attendees, who expressed solidarity with its mission to promote democratic values, advocate for good governance, and ensure justice for all citizens. 

The movement’s pledge to empower citizens and build civil society coalitions garnered widespread support, reflecting a growing demand for grassroots activism in Liberia. As a grassroots movement, STAND has vowed to champion the rights of all Liberians, regardless of political affiliation or ethnicity.

“In these solemn promises, our steadfast commitment remains unwavering. It’s time to speak up for the voiceless and put an end to impunity in Liberia,” STAND Chairman, Mulbah K. Morlu told Liberians at the launch of the CSO in Monrovia. He rallied Liberians to join the movement in challenging the status quo and building a brighter future for Liberia.

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