Case Managers at the Child Rescue Centre recently planned letter writing events for students. These events were planned in order to enhance effective sponsorship and ensure that students in the CRC program living in the most remote and rural areas of Sierra Leone write to their sponsors. Visits were planned to three different districts: the Pujehun District, the Fengehun District, and the Maguama District. All District Case Managers set out to visit their students and captured some great photographs while overseeing the events.
The events were filled with excitement as letters were read, interpreted, and distributed to their respective students. Students loved reading letters from their sponsors and writing letters back to them, making sure to include many fun drawings and stickers! Case managers were able to reach many students on their caseload as well as connect with teachers and community members. Victor S. Kanu, a Case Manager at the Child Rescue Centre said, “During the process I came to understand that teachers at rural communities are determined to support the program, and support the case managers and their children to write to their sponsors”. The community support through the Child Rescue Centre and beyond is such an incredible thing to be a part of!
Microfinance graduates trained to mentor other CRC parents; new parents enrolled in microfinance program
The CRC recently began training graduates of the Microfinance Program to mentor other parents, so that they can learn microfinance skills to help their families become financially stable. For the first training, the CRC chose eight parents who have demonstrated success in their microfinance businesses since graduating the program. To become mentors, they were coached on the roles and responsibilities of a mentor, and how they can support the process of training new participants. Eight CRC parents completed the training and will begin mentoring other parents: Gbessay Sesay, Saffiatu Dakowa, Samuel James, Catherine Ngaliwa, Baindu Sumbu, Fatmata Mattia, Janet Turay, and Fatmata J. Amara. The new mentors will receive a second microfinance loan as a reward for faithfully paying back their first loan on time.
On June 21st, a meeting was held for a new group of 25 CRC parents who would like to enroll in the Microfinance Program and learn strategies for improving their financial stability so they can take better care of their children. Victor Kanu, lead facilitator of the Family Strengthening Program, informed the parents that the training will cover seventeen topics that will change their household and family lifestyle, including money management, budgeting, planning, and saving. During the initial meeting, the participants were given the task of developing business plans for three different potential businesses. These plans will be used throughout the training, and the CRC staff and mentors will consult with the parents at the end of the training to help them choose the best business plan. The actual training will launch July 28th, and cover two topics per meeting. At the conclusion of the training, there will be a certification ceremony and a loan distribution for the amount of five hundred thousand leones to each graduate (approximately $56.)
Sponsor A Child Assistant Coordinator Henry Kebbie, who assisted with the training, thanked the participants for coming to the meeting, noting that this program is not for the parents, but rather for their children. He encouraged the parents to look for businesses that will yield a greater profit, and advised them to utilize the money well so that they can provide food, transportation, and other necessary items for their children to live happy and comfortable lives. The CRC staff are excited and encouraged to see the impact these trainings are having in the lives of CRC families and their communities.
HCW has been given the opportunity to support global efforts to strengthen children’s care in the context of the 2019 UN General Assembly Resolution on the Rights of the Child, which will focus on children without parental care. We have endorsed the recommendations contained in the resolution on children's rights, specifically, the focus on children without parental care that is being presented to the UN General Assembly this year. Additionally, HCW has joined the UN Advocacy Group on Children Without Parental Care, partnering with hundreds of other organizations working to ensure that children all over the world grow up in a loving family.
Each year, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) makes important decisions affecting the lives of people around the world. They recommend a course of action for all United Nations Member States on a wide array of topics from human rights to education, development, climate, violence against children, and peace and security, among others. The focus of the 2019 UN General Assembly Resolution on the Rights of the Child is children without parental care. The UN’s general agenda for the coming years is built on an understanding that to truly achieve sustainable development, we must start by focusing on those who have been left the furthest behind. According to the UN’s Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs), strategic investments in children are key to furthering peace, ending global poverty, and ensuring that all human beings can fulfill their potential. The SDGs set forth bold targets across sectors and include an explicit focus on improving child outcomes through poverty reduction and increased access to health, nutrition, education, justice, and protection. Decades of research have demonstrated that we cannot truly support children without investing in family relationships and ensuring that quality care is provided to all children.
In November 2018, representatives from 14 organizations, networks, and agencies met in New York to discuss the 2019 UNGA Resolution on the Rights of the Child. At the meeting, participants agreed to work together to develop and propose key recommendations and messages for Member States to include in the draft resolution. Several calls were organized, and a working group collaborated to develop and negotiate key recommendations on behalf of the coalition. The final negotiated text reflects the broadest agreement among almost all members and provides a strong basis for joint advocacy with Member States at national, regional, and global levels.
The Key Recommendations reflect agreed commitments by States under international standards, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, as well as previous UNGA resolutions and other negotiated documents. The recommendations are bold and focused on what needs to be done to implement the commitments made by governments towards children, families, and communities.
The 64 recommendations are divided under 8 key priority areas:
Helping Children Worldwide is proud to endorse the 2019 UNGA Recommendations on the Rights of the Child as outlined below.
June 16th was a special day at the Child Rescue Centre and for many communities and countries across the African continent. Annually on this day across Africa, African Member States and its partners commemorate the Day of the African Child (DAC). DAC was established to raise awareness of the need for continuing improvement in education. As a partner of the Ministry of Social Welfare: Gender and Children Affairs in Sierra Leone, the CRC has made it part of their culture to bring together CRC children on this day of commemoration. After church, children from various locations within the Bo district congregated on the CRC compound for the Day of the African Child. Leading this commemoration event was Mabel Mustapha, the Education Manager at the Child Rescue Centre. Mabel encouraged children to remember that the DAC is not just a day for fun activities together, but also a day to commemorate and recognize the importance of their education. However, this day also included many opportunities for fun for the children and their families. They listened to music, danced, shared and listened to stories about the history and impact of the Day of the African Child, and played many outdoor games. At the end of all activities, children and their families were able to share an African dish together and pray together. The community of children, parents, and Child Rescue Centre staff were so thankful to be able to participate in this day of commemoration.
The first female child to be delivered via c-section at Mercy Hospital was born on Thursday, June 20th. Previously, all c-section babies delivered at Mercy had been male. June 20th also happens to be the birthday of Mercy’s Hospital Administrator, Jinnah Lahai. Jinnah said he considers it a particular blessing to welcome a new baby into the world at Mercy on his birthday.
The mother of the child is Hawa Kamara. Hawa is a destitute patient, so her surgery was completely covered by Mercy Hospital. She came to Mercy ready to deliver, but it quickly became apparent that she needed a c-section to ensure the health of both herself and her baby. Surgical Health Officer Lawrence T. Kargbo performed the successful surgery. Both mom and baby are doing well and Mercy Hospital is excited to have welcomed a new child into the world! Happy birthday baby girl and Jinnah!
The Child Rescue Centre and Mercy Hospital have partnered together since Mercy officially opened in 2007. The hospital has provided medical care to all CRC children enrolled in the program since that time. Now that Mercy’s surgical suite is open, Mercy has been able to provide crucial surgical interventions for many, including two different CRC students.
Wuyata, a CRC student attending SS1 at Njaboima Secondary School in Bo, began experiencing abdominal pain and fever in 2018. Unable to perform surgeries at that time as construction on the surgical suite was not complete, Mercy staff referred the family to Sowa clinic for surgery. The family didn’t have the funds to pay for the surgery, so they opted to continue to provide Wuyata with medications for the pain and postponed surgery.
On a routine school to visit another CRC child attending the school, CRC Case Manager Victor Kanu discovered that Wuyata was not there, and immediately contacted her assigned Case Manager, Amie Nallo. Amie visited Wuyata at home and realized immediately that she was very ill, and advised the family to bring her back to Mercy as quickly as possible. Mercy’s new Surgical Health Officer, Dr. Laurence Kargbo, examined her and discovered that the problem was a hernia, and prepared her for surgery.
During the operation, the doctor discovered that Wuyata actually had a bilateral hernia, but the decision was made to conduct a second surgery a month later after she had recovered from the first procedure. Wuyata recovered well, and eagerly returned to school. “All I have to say is thank you lord and for CRC supporting me to go through this surgery, and Mercy for doing the surgery successfully.” She is scheduled to have the second procedure in a month, and is hopeful that she would be able to return to school in time to take her promotional exam.
In March, Isatu, a student in SS2 at Queen of the Rosary School recently complained of abdominal pain to her caregiver, who brought her to Mercy to be seen by Community Health Worker, Henrietta Baby Sitta. Sitta quickly realized that the cause was her appendix, which needed to be removed. Isatu’s appendix was successfully removed by Dr. Amara and the surgical team at Mercy, in one of Mercy’s new operating theatres.
Isatu spent 4 days at Mercy recovering, and the CRC staff visited her at Mercy to check on her recovery. Her mother Margaret expressed her gratitude for both the CRC and Mercy staff. “I thank God and the staff at CRC and at Mercy for working together to restore the health of my child.” Isatu was able to return to school a week later.