Les Li Viv rekindles efforts to meet new challenges


11-February-2012

Created in 1992 with the aim of upholding respect and value for human life, the organization is still standing strong and is proud of its achievements. Among some of Les Li Viv’s successes is the increase in the number of babies saved and more and more single teenage mothers find new direction and purpose in their lives through advice, counseling and support they receive from the organisation.

A former midwife, Gemma Barbier is the chairperson of the organisation and also one of its founding members. She still recalls the great furore which followed the creation of Les Li Viv.

“It was soon after the passing of the abortion law that a group of nurses and other women decided to join forces and provide another alternative and choice to young women and the defence-less foetuses they carry,” said Mrs Barbier.

Mrs Barbier noted that the organisation has saved more than 1,000 babies and has helped a large number of young women. She is happy Les Li Viv has remained true to its values.

“The important thing is that the church and society still value what we are doing as well as the support and advice we give,” Mrs Barbier added.

She admitted though that things have not been easy for the organisation which over the years has seen the level of strength required to keep it active dwindle a bit.

But with renewed strength and support from the Roman Catholic church, partners and more members from all walks of life who believe in its principles, the organisation was revitalised in 2009 and has regained its strength.

“This is essential if we want to face the challenges and meet the new demands of today’s society,” said Mrs Barbier.
 
Empowering young women

On top of giving pregnant teenage girls and unskilled single mothers support, counseling, parenting and sewing skills, Les Li Viv has introduced computer lessons.

“The young women need to be empowered to stand on their own two feet and work to earn their living,” Mrs Barbier pointed out. She added that many of them are keen to learn from their mistakes, to get a good job and be somebody in life but this can be hard with no skills and little support from family members.

She said the organisation tries its best with the little means it has to help the girls, while at the same time guide them to seek financial help for their babies. 
 
More help and support welcomed

Mrs Barbier admits that over the years social ills affecting society have been afflicting the lives of our young people who are not receiving good living values, proper upbringing and guidance at home and this result in a host of other problems which complicate their lives and they end up abusing illicit substances, getting pregnant or fall into prostitution.

“Les Li Viv is working with a number of partners and other individuals who care about and have an interest in mother and child care and development,” explained Mrs Barbier.

But she noted that the organisation needs all the help it can get – be it in kind or in other forms – in order to continue to provide better help to the young women who knock on its doors.

Over the years the organisation has improved on its facilities next to the Deepam’s Cinema, La Salle D’Oeuvres, adding a small pantry and kitchen providing space for the young women to learn to prepare food and formula for their babies.

Mrs Barbier explained that in some exceptional cases some women have no choice but to bring their babies with them. In these cases they have no one to care for their infants as they cannot afford to pay a daycare service.

The organisation’s main source of funding is through the Liaison Unit for Non-governmental Organisation (Lungos) and other voluntary donations from individuals. All the clothes and other handicraft work the young women produce are also sold and the proceeds go back towards the development of the programme being offered. But Mrs Barbier said the organisation would welcome any contribution from other donors, private organisations and companies.

The future of Les Li Viv
Looking  back at all the desperate young women who have received help to raise their babies, support not to lose hope, advice to regain confidence, self-esteem and a new reason to live through skills acquired at Les Li Viv, Mrs Barbier believes the organisation will continue to live up to its principles.

“Les Li Viv will continue to remain the lifeline in times of great need and it is good to know the services we offer continue to be valued and appreciated,” added Mrs Barbier.

“The organisation’s door will continue to remain open for everyone in need of advice on life-changing decisions, or who is under pressure from a boyfriend or parent,” she said.

“Today, almost 20 years after its creation, Les Li Viv can count among the young teenage girls it has helped – seamstresses, counsellors, nursing assistants, mailwomen to name but some.

At present, the organisation employs a director, Lucie Julie, who receives the help of several members and volunteers, while Father Lonnie Adrienne oversees the running of the organisation.

“We fervently believe in the organisation and it is important it continues to exist because it is an ethical reminder to society that human life is precious,” explained Mrs Barbier.

M-A. L.

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