Liberian "Play Ma" 


Mentoring is certainly not a novel idea. I fondly remember growing up with several "play mas" in Liberia and also being a "play ma" to many younger girls. Having a "play ma" made one feel very special as older girls we admired would actually notice and pay attention to you. You had someone in whom you could confide. Your "play ma" gave you gifts and spent time with you. Pre-1980, many Liberians seriously and eagerly embraced the "play ma" concept. Even my mother speaks fondly of her "play mas" acquired during the 1940s who were influential in her life and with whom she maintained (and maintains) relationships. Strong and sometimes life-giving and life-saving relationships were forged and many continue to this day. I am blessed to have a strong and loving relationship with my "play-ma" and "play-pa" 30+ years later and their children refer to me as their oldest sister.


So I am so thrilled to tears when I learned that in Sept. 2013, twenty-five young girls from IAD School were selected to participate in the "Play Ma" mentoring program sponsored by The Liberian Girls Organization. God bless them in all their efforts. For more information about this unique service organization, under the direction of Ms. Stephanie Salamartu Duncan, please visit:


Lesa Givens

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