Life is difficult in Sierra Leone for teenage mothers and their babies. Although Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the world, there is a strong social stigma against teenage pregnancy, and many families ostracize their daughters if they become pregnant. Most schools will not allow pregnant teens to remain enrolled. Family rejection leaves many young mothers unable to provide their children with adequate food, clothing, and medication.
The Child Rescue Centre and Mercy Hospital recently collaborated to provide local teenage moms with desperately needed baby clothes and supplies. CRC Director Olivia Fonnie, Guidance Counselor Rosa Saffa, and CRC Secretary Claudia Mani visited the maternity wards of Mercy Hospital and Bo Government Hospital to deliver many bags of donated items. More than 100 mothers and babies benefited from the generosity of the two organizations. Olivia, Rosa and Claudia prayed with the young mothers as they distributed the clothing, shoes, blankets, and other items.
"I gave birth to twins girls and their father went out to find clothes for the children first thing this morning and returned with some old ones saying he did not have enough money to purchase new ones. I give God all the thanks and appreciation for such wonderful gifts I received today, and may God continue to bless the providers,” one of the grateful recipients said.
Because teenage pregnancy is impacting the lives of so many young people, the Child Rescue Centre teaches an effective program called "Honoring God With Your Body" based on basic Biblical principles relating to sexual responsibility. HGWYB covers topics of abstinence, navigating compromising situations, appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, modest dress, preventing premarital sex, sexually transmitted disease, HIV and avoiding pregnancy.
This month, the Child Rescue Centre staff completed microfinance training for a third group of CRC parents. Thirty-two men and women participated in the 10 week training. The 17 session training covered saving, money management, creating and maintaining a budget, financial planning, responsible borrowing, loan management, and other topics. At the end of the training, the staff conducted a capstone project and review to ascertain the participants' learning.
Representatives of three local banks were invited to help facilitate the training. The bank representatives talked to the participants about their services and instructed them how to open an account. The training especially stressed the importance of learning how to save money to prepare for emergencies and unexpected expenses.
On September 17, a festive celebration was held for the new graduates and their families. Local government representatives attended and spoke encouragement to the graduates. Micro loans were distributed to the graduates to start their new businesses. We look forward to hearing their success stories!
The Child Rescue Centre staff hosted the first ever "Family Fun Day" with support from a visiting UMVIM team, led by team member and former CRC director Mohamed Nabieu. 42 parents and 75 children attended a festive and fun day of games and sports. The staff and UMVIM team divided into Purple, White and Blue teams, to rotate between activities including football (soccer), volleyball and indoor games. After working up a good appetite, everyone enjoyed fellowship and a delicious lunch.
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