Garth Thorpe, (un)adopted Education Manager
Victor could have been one of the over 38,000 orphans that will age out of an orphanage without the necessary life skills needed to survive. But God allowed (un)adopted® to be part of changing his story through Life Skills Education Training (LSET).
The current global reality that over 38,000 children are leaving orphanages without the ability to survive independently reveals that we are falling short in preparing orphaned and vulnerable children to face a complex world once they age out of an orphanage. In response to experiencing this need first hand, LSET was created by (un)adopted® to equip others who are directly impacting the lives of orphans and vulnerable children. LSET seeks to care holistically for the fatherless in numerous locations, addressing the needs children have from birth until they are older and able to sustain themselves.
Recently, (un)adopted was able to host a caregiver training, which is a piece of the LSET initiative. This training took place in Liberia, Africa, where over sixty-five caregivers, orphanage directors and orphanage staff from over twenty different orphanages across Liberia were present. This was an amazing event and the topics of the training included the gospel and orphan care; how to build a holistic educational program for youth; the role of the caregiver; child protection; and financial building. It truly was an amazing sight to see how the gospel was going forth and this caregiver training is making such an impact through the LSET program.
Caregivers are often overlooked when it comes to orphan care; however, caregivers have the most direct impact on children. Therefore, equipping them with the toolset to love, comfort, effectively care for, and pour into the children in their care is essential to the well-being of each child. Additionally, the children who live in orphanages in Liberia and around the world have experienced some degree of trauma. In Liberia, specifically, after their civil war, the number of orphanages tripled, leaving many children whose mom and dad were killed in war. Children may have also experienced the trauma of being abandoned by one or both of their parents. The bottom line is that a child who has been separated from his or her birth family has experienced trauma, some in ways that are more horrible than we could imagine.
In light of these realities, LSET training in Liberia gives caregivers the tools they need to help the children in their care with best practices and in helping children walk through and live in light of their trauma. Training can equip caregivers to help the children in their care to understand their past, live in their present, and prepare for their future.
As children age throughout orphanages in Liberia, we desire for them to have the skills they need to thrive in their community. Knowing how to shake a hand, look others in the eye, and contribute to their community are all tools that will impact a child outside of the orphanage. As LSET caregiver training impacts children throughout, LSET camps continue to impact older children and young adults in Liberia through life skills camps that include life and trade skills such as masonry, cooking, and sewing. Victor Bundo is a young man who has been impacted by LSET in profound ways.
Victor grew up as an orphan in Liberia. He attended the life skill training camps as an orphan each year. As his leadership skills grew, and he soon became a counselor for the camps—leading other kids like him. Through this process Victor was preparing for life outside of the orphanage. After aging out of the orphanage, he began attending electrical school, where he is studying to become an electrician in Liberia. Many times we ask ourselves, “What happens when these orphans age out of an orphanage?” The statistics reveal a lot of the harsh realities, including suicide and sexual slavery, but seeing young men like Victor making a difference in his own community give us hope that the gospel changes lives, impacts communities, and gives children a future.
Partner with us as we continue to impact lives like Victor’s across the globe!