The newest additions to the CRC’s Child Support Program are 20 children who live in Fengehun Village, about 25 kilometres from Bo. The Mercy Hospital Outreach team holds a clinic in Fengehun each month, and now CRC staff make the trip as well, in order to conduct school and home visits.
The staff recently conducted a workshop and letter event for children in the village. Parents, pupils and teachers were present at this meeting. Topics included CRC activities, benefits of the program, the role of parents and teachers in monitoring their children and helping with their studies, commitments of parents and community, and alternative forms of discipline.
At the end of the workshop, the students wrote to their sponsors.
On Sunday, March 18th, First UMC of Colleyville held a dual annual kickoff event for their thriving Sponsor A Child initiative, and the Run for Rescue 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk to support missioners who serve in Sierra Leone. The church members' response was especially enthusiastic, due to a beautiful Sponsor A Child display with photos of students sponsored by church members, and children who need sponsors. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the event, with special thanks to Ruth Ann Meek, SAC coordinator for First UMC, Karen Roeming, partner church representative, and Sharon Gardner and Neil McKinnon, Run for Rescue organizers. First UMC is grateful to partner church Otterbein UMC for inspiring their new SAC display.
By Clarence Roy-Macaulay | AP March 26 at 4:19 PM
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — Sierra Leone’s Supreme Court on Monday approved the election commission’s request to delay Tuesday’s runoff presidential vote until the weekend after the lifting of an interim injunction that had stalled preparations.
The commission applied for more time once the West African nation’s high court vacated the injunction that was granted Saturday after a member of the ruling party filed a petition citing irregularities in the first round on March 7. The opposition called the petition a delay tactic.
The runoff election is now set for Saturday.
Tensions have risen in the nation of 7 million people after neither the ruling All Peoples Congress party candidate nor the leading opposition candidate won the first round outright. The opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party, which took 43.3 percent to the ruling party’s 42.7 in the first round, has not held the presidency since 2007.
Opposition candidate Julius Maada Bio, a former military leader, on Sunday said his party would not accept a delay in the vote. He also accused President Ernest Bai Koroma and the ruling party of “pushing us to the point of chaos in the country.” Koroma has served two terms and is barred by the constitution from running again.
Bio, who is making his second bid for the presidency after losing in 2012, stands to pick up votes from the 14 candidates eliminated in the first round.
(First published by The Washington Post, 3/26/2018)
Mrs. Hannah Fofanah is one of twenty-eight participants in the initial microfinance class, launched in February of 2017. As the grandmother and caregiver of Child Rescue Centre student Lucy Kamara, Hannah was invited to enroll in the first class, which was offered to 30 parents and caregivers who were struggling to make ends meet. The microfinance program was designed to help vulnerable families acquire the tools they need to become financially stable.
Many of the CRC students are in the care of grandparents or other family members, sometimes because they've lost their parents, and sometimes because they have been removed from the home by Sierra Leone social services.
Hannah cares for seven additional grandchildren, supporting them all by selling firewood, charcoal, and now handmade soap. Her granddaughter Lucy attends UMC Njagboima, where she is in Junior Secondary Class 2.
After attending weekly classes at the CRC to learn about saving, budgeting and simple business management, Hannah reflected that she found it “very useful to be part of these classes...my little business used to dwindle since I was not saving, except I borrowed money from my colleague or from close family relatives to make up for my business again. But from the time I started attending classes I now know how to save some profit and never interfere with my capital.”
Hannah’s family noticed the change almost immediately. “My grandchildren feel very happy for such opportunity and even help me with notes sometimes. I don’t have a husband anymore and even though I am getting old it is still important to learn and I am sure this will be put into practice to help me maintain my family.”
Since receiving her small loan of approximately $70 in August, Hannah shared "having a loan I decided to expand my business... my whole family is happy for the loan." Hannah is also proud to report that all 8 of her grandchildren are attending school.
The CRC staff recently visited Hannah at her place of business. Hannah has been steadily paying her loan payments since last fall, though recently that has been a struggle. Reports of incidents of violence related to the recent presidential election have meant that many people are not moving from their homes in order to remain safe, but she is hopeful to get back on track after the run-off scheduled for Saturday, March 31st.
Mercy Hospital's new Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sao Amara, is settling in well at the hospital. Dr. Amara enjoys working closely with the staff, and is excited about the operating room. He is currently hard at work developing a list of equipment needed to get the OR up and running.
Dr. Amara has training and expertise in surgery, and is particularly interested in maternal health and surgery. These skills are especially critical for the hospital's expansion to include an operating theater.
Dr. Amara's interest in maternal and child health is what initially drew him to Mercy, so he is excited to be working with the prenatal and nutrition programs, and plans to go on outreach after the elections. Recently, Dr. Amara co-led a staff training on pregnancy-induced hypertension with Matron Augusta Kpanabaum.
Dr. Amara received a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences in 2014, and is awaiting the results of his Masters of Public Health from Njala University. Dr. Amara should feel right at home at Mercy, having graduated from the Bo Government Senior Secondary School.