It is among the footsteps of ordinary individuals that Torli Harlan Krua emerged, choosing a life of service dedicated to the forgotten and desperate. In following his footsteps, lives have been transformed and hope reigned in the hearts of many suffering people.
An infant born to Rev. & Mrs. Krua in the village of Tappa, Liberia, Torli’s footsteps grew along a dusty road that led to the village of Zenith, where his father established Zenith Mission School and Zenith Faith Baptist church. In Zenith, much like the majority of villages in Africa, there was no electricity, paved roads, running water and telephones. While this isolation sheltered its people from the frantic pace of the world, it also prevented meaningful communication and dialogue across borders. This isolation prohibited social, cultural and economic growth and political stability. It perpetuated debilitating illiteracy and poverty. It provided cover and concealment for brutes and tyrants to wage barbaric civil wars and violate personal freedoms and human rights.
As a scholarship student, Krua graduated from the Mano River Union regional Telecommunications Institute in Freetown, Sierra Leone. After graduation, Torli went to work for the Iberian Telecommunications Corporation. In Liberia, Krua was arrested and persecuted because of his close association with the United States Embassy, activism, ethnicity and religion and forced to flee to Belgium where he worked for the European subsidiary of a Massachusetts company, Wang Computers. At the height of the Liberian civil war, and his career Wang Computers sent Krua to the US Embassy in Monrovia to help restore computer its services. Due to the war, there were no working hospitals, safe drinking water, stores to buy food and essential supplies, and no electricity in Monrovia. The civil war survivors became unwelcome trespassers in neighboring countries forced into refugee camps. Families were separated, lives were shattered and spirits broken.
Torli responded by resigning from his position to commit himself fully to the cause of refugees. His goals were to use the law as a means for protecting individuals human rights. Krua toured West Africa and helped Liberian refugees find shelter, food and hope. Since many of the refugees had relatives living within the United States,
Krua settled in Boston and established the Universal
Human Rights International. UHRI is a multi-national advocacy and human rights organization, working with 38 nationals including citizens of 29 African countries. The goal of UHRI is to address the issue of discrimination against Africa refugees in the United States. At this time Africa had the worlds largest refugee population but the least quota of refugees admitted into the United States. Today, largely because of his efforts, Africans account for the largest group of refugees admitted into the United States. (From 3500 in 1993 to 25,000 in 2004) Liberians increased from just 8 in 1990 to over 8,000 in 2004. Krua has also been at the forefront of the fight for temporary protected status (TPS) for Liberians and Montmartre volcano victims.
To accomplish his goals Krua organized functional, peaceful communities among Africans across the United States. He connected these communities with elected federal, state and municipal government officials to give a voice to their needs and aspirations. Krua hopes that skills acquired could eventually be brought back to their homeland to rebuild a stable, thriving democratic society. Torli also built alliances across diverse religious, social, racial and ethnic divides. His networks include middle school students from Maine to Minnesota, the Multi-cultural Leadership Council representing clergy from five continents and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. With Krua, they have become a powerful new voice advocating justice and fairness for victims of religious persecution, natural disasters, torture, rape and brutality worldwide.
Torli is a selfless man, a person with a servant’s heart who has accepted Christ’s mission to bring the love of God to the world. His work is faith-based without any continuing source of funding. Personal comforts in life have long ago given way to the greater priorities of the ever-expanding scope of his work. He acknowledges with immense gratitude the financial support of friends and organizations dedicated to justice and social change. This sacrificial work has been recognized by members of Congress, the cities of Baltimore and Boston, and has earned Krua many awards, including the Host Country National Award from the National Peace Corps Association and an award from the National Lawyers Guild on Monday May 13, 2005.
Mr. Krua’s footsteps continue to move forward. “Torture survivors and refugees are gifts of life to America.” Said Torli. He believes that America must grant legal status to refugees and asylum seekers, specifically those already on American shores. This empowers them to acquire the skills, tools and resources needed to rebuild their own countries when hostilities cease. Beyond physical assistance, Torli is an everlasting bringing the good news of the Gospel to people who come to America seeking freedom from oppression and a better life. “If you feed the poor today, they get hungry tomorrow. If you heal the sick, they eventually die. But in Jesus, suffering humanity can find eternal freedom, everlasting life and the ‘Living Bread’”. Torli said. Torli is a missionary appointed by the Denver Colorado-based Mission to the Americas. Torli invites you to join him in this exciting and life-transforming ministry.
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