Every year in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare of Bo, The Child Rescue Centre commemorates the Day of the African Child Day. This year’s theme “Pikin Nor For Lef Behine For Salone E Betteh Wan” (No Child Is Left Behind For the Betterment of Sierra Leone), inspired a fun, yet meaningful event for more than 200 of the children and youth enrolled in the CRC's programs.
Since 1991, The Day of the African Child has been celebrated across Africa to honor the children who participated in the 1976 Soweto Uprising and raise awareness for African childrens' education and welfare. The day has also become an opportunity to examine the progress of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child established in 1999.
The CRC's commemoration opened with prayer and remarks by Family Care Coordinators Deborah Kanneh and Amie Nallo. Education Manager Mabel Mustapha followed, exclaiming that “I am the happiest woman today to see children in the entire program join the Child Recuse Centre to mark this event. We have been working to promote the well-being of children and to uplift their social rights in this district and in Sierra Leone for more than 18 years.”
The celebration included a festive meal, dance competition, storytelling, and a powerful message to the children to take their education seriously. The event closed with a prayer for African children across the continent.
The Child Rescue Centre (CRC) was proud to celebrate the graduation of the second microfinance class last week. The ceremony opened with prayer offered by one of the microfinance participants, Sallay Mattia, mother to Sallay and Hassan Combay. Education Manager Mabel Mustapha thanked God for the lives of the participants, facilitators, and the donors for organizing such a wonderful capacity building training for the thirty two beneficiaries, at the same time providing a loan for startup capital. She encouraged the graduates to remain committed, and work hard to repay their loans on time.
Child Support Program Manager David Titus Musa reminded the graduates of the importance of time management, which they learned in the training. "Use your time very well," David advised, especially considering that some of the businesses are seasonal.
Ministry of Social Welfare Representative, Sylvanus Conteh, expressed thanks and appreciation to the CRC for their support of the ministry in the areas of child justice, child protection, health, and education. Mr. Conteh encouraged the graduates to work very hard to pay their loans, and use the money for the intended purpose, the care of their children. "There are lots of people out there looking for such opportunity," he told the graduates, adding that the ministry will also be assisting in monitoring their progress.
On behalf of Bishop Yambasu, UMC-SLAC Representative Rev. Francis Charley thanked the staff and participants for their diligence and hard work, adding that the raising of children is the most important business. "A home without a child is not a happy home," Rev. Charley exclaimed. "The Child Rescue Centre is a Christian organization," he told the gathering, "but we are not selective among Christian or Muslim, or whether you are UMC members or not. The organization gives to those who are in need."
Rev. Charley reminded the parents that the CRC is supporting them so that they can take better care of their children. “Whatever you are doing must be in the interest of the child," he concluded.
Mabel Mustapha told the graduates that supporters in the US are really interested in the microfinance program, because they view it as a key to sustainable development and growth, therefore "they should work very hard to repay their loans on time."
Several graduates shared their testimonies. Mariam Filiwon, mother of Vaikuma Fofanah, told the group “I use to mismanage my funds, spend without budgeting, used money just as it comes, no investment. Since I was doing a business I was not saving, but now I do save on a daily basis." Mariam said she is saving 60,000 leones each month.
“I now know how to make a budget and plan for the rainy days," James Kanu, father of Augustine and Christian Kanu, testified, adding that participation in the program had "improved honesty among my family members with regard to finances."
Following a certificate ceremony and disbursement of loans, the graduates enjoyed refreshments. In total, 32 caregivers graduated, including 30 women and two men.
- Victor S. Kanu- CSP/FCP Assistant Coordinator and Lead Facilitator for Microfinance
Last month, the Mercy village outreach team encountered nine-month-old Mohamed Fofanah, desperately ill and deydrated. The team brought the child back to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with severe malaria and anemia. Mohamed received anti-malarial medicine and a blood transfusion, which could never have been done in the village. Without Mercy’s intervention, Mohamed would almost certainly have died.
Malaria--which Doctors Without Borders calls "the other epidemic"--is one of the greatest causes of under-five mortality in Sierra Leone, especially deadly when a child's immune system is already compromised by malnutrition or parasitic infection. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of malaria in the world. Children are particularly susceptible to infection, illness and death from malaria, which contributes to an estimated twenty percent of child mortality.
Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria reduces transmission of the disease and prevents deaths. In 2017 Mercy Hospital treated more than 8,000 people for malaria infection, both at the hospital and through village outreach, saving the lives of children and adults.
In pursuit of the mission to reduce maternal and infant mortality, Mercy Hospital encourages women to give birth at the hospital, which greatly improves the outcome for mothers and babies. Last week these beautiful identical twins were delivered at Mercy. Mother and babies are doing well!
Fatorma, a three-month old baby, had become severely dehydrated from a pneumonia infection, and was admitted to the hospital as a destitute because his parents had no means to pay for treatment. After three days of treatment and monitoring, little Fatorma was discharged and is doing well.
Every Sunday, Child Rescue Centre student Ibrahim Bockarie sits on the front row of Leader UMC, not so he can hear the sermon better, but because he has a friend who needs his help. Ibrahim’s new friend, Toma, is a blind man who faithfully attends church, but needs someone to guide him to his seat and assist him throughout the service.
Ibrahim escorts Toma to their spot on the front pew, helps him with the offering, renders assistance if Toma needs to use the restroom, and stays with him until the service is over so he can help him down the stairs.
The CRC recently recognized Ibrahim’s service with a special citizenship award, which was announced in front of the entire staff at Wednesday devotions. “Ibrahim shows humility and love to the blind man, as taught by God and directed by the Child Rescue Centre,” CRC staff member Victor Kanu said proudly.
Ibrahim is 12 years old and attends UMC Kulanda Primary School, alongside many other children enrolled in the Child Rescue Centre. Not surprisingly, Ibrahim loves playing football in his spare time.
Midwife Mariama Bangali was very surprised and happy to receive Mercy’s quarterly staff recognition award in May. She is clearly a very dedicated worker, however, because she attended a training and the staff meeting one day, even though it was her day off. On top of that, she was sick and had a cannula inserted in her hand (what you connect to the IV). She even went on Outreach the next day with it still in! According to her co-workers, going above and beyond what is required is just what Mariama does.
About being selected for this award, Mariama said, “I am very excited and so happy. I think I won the award because I worked hard for it. I work in the maternity department and do the antenatal clinics and work in the labor ward. I started working at Mercy almost one year ago now. Mercy is so nice and I really like my colleagues and the management. Everyone works so hard. Mercy is quite different from other hospitals that I have worked at. The maternity department is trying our best and getting along so well. We work fast to make sure our patients are healthy and have safe deliveries.”
Christiana (her supervisor) had high praise for Mariama, sharing that ““she comes to work on time and she never leaves her duty. She is very diligent and committed. She is ready to do any duty at all. Mariama treats the patients very nicely, she knows how to talk to them and to encourage them. I feel very good that someone from our unit was chosen. She’s a hard worker."
- filed by Kim Nabieu, Medical Programs Field Director