In August, when a number of residential children were reunified with their "forever families," the remaining children were given the opportunity to spend three weeks visiting their own "forever families," before returning to the residence. When they returned to the CRC, they were full of joyful stories of their time away at a "welcome back" breakfast enjoyed by the children and the staff.
The children shared their experiences with each other and with the staff. Norman Koroma expressed that he was very happy with his caregiver and family. He said that the children in his family thought he was from the US, because his English was so good, and that he was asked to help teach them better English. Isata Kallon shared that she loved everything about her family; especially her grandmother, and that she can't wait to be reunified with them. John Dakowa said his family was impressed with his English as well, and that he taught them also to speak some Mende. He loved going with his grandparents around the farm and seeing "plants like rice leaves." Abdulai Dakowa loved his holiday with his mother. He also made a friend he enjoyed getting to know and spending time with, and he liked the community church the family attended as well.
These opportunities to spend more quality time with the families with whom they will ultimately be reunified help the children to establish connections to their families, and to the communities in which they live, as well as helping to prepare them for how life outside the residence may be different from live inside.
Abu Bakarr Kanu is really on the road to recovery these days. He is SO much happier, maintaining his weight, healing significantly, and enjoying lots of quality time with friends and family. He is planning to go back to school in September, and will be repeating class five because he missed so many months of school while recovering from his burns. He will be attending UMC Kulanda Town School with the CRC residential children. This school is within walking distance of Mercy Hospital and the Child Rescue Centre, which will ensure that he is close to Mercy in case he needs care during the day. He will continue to stay at Mercy overnight.
Graduates of the CRC's Pilot Microfinance Program have begun making payments on their loans. As planned, most participants visit the CRC every Friday to make their payments, though some find other days easier to pay. Each payment is recorded for the CRC's records, and a receipt is given to the participant for their own records. Some pay a small amount toward the repayment of their loan each week, while others find it easier to make larger monthly payments.
Participants are engaged in a variety of different types of businesses. Some used their loans to launch a new venture, while others used the capital to build up existing businesses. CRC staff visit these businesses on site to also monitor their success.
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