At a medical outreach clinic in Kahungabu Village, the Mercy team encountered Amos, a one year old boy suffering from vomiting and abdominal pain. The child had been enrolled in the nutrition program, but was failing to gain weight. Amos was diagnosed with an inguinal hernia (groin area) and an umbilical hernia (belly button area) and surgery at Mercy Hospital was recommended.
Umbilical hernia is common in the developing world and may be the result of a congenital weakness in the abdominal muscles, or caused by severe coughing that leads to increased abdominal pressure. Various risk factors can cause inguinal hernias, including premature birth. Left untreated, umbilical and inguinal hernias can lead to severe health complications in children.
Amos was transported to the hospital, where he was admitted. The surgery was successfully performed by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amara and Mercy's surgical officer, Lawrence Kargbo. His family didn't have any money for the surgery, but Mercy treats patients regardless of their ability to pay, so there was no charge for the treatment. Amos spent some time in recovery before being released. He and his mother returned later to say "thank you" to the staff of Mercy for their compassionate care.
The CRC is pleased to welcome Assiatu Tarawally and Andrew Forbie to the staff. Assiatu is joining the team of case managers who monitor the CRC students' academic progress and well being. Andrew is the new Monitoring and Evaluation Officer who will collect, analyze and report data to help the CRC improve programming, and communicate progress to partners. Andrew will work with M&E Project Lead Sam Bundren to establish a data management system.
Assiatu graduated with a bachelors degree in social work from Fourah Bay College in Freetown, Sierra Leone. She served an internship at Don Bosco Fambul, a Christian ministry that cares for street children in Freetown, and also volunteered for Project Pikin. Assiatu is the youngest child in her large family, who live in Freetown. Assiatu is a committed Christian who enjoys reading and dancing. "I love gaining new experiences, dealing with challenges, and finding a way out," Assiatu says. "I have a passion for children, and I want to contribute towards nation building."
Before coming to the CRC, Andrew served as Governance and Research Coordinator for People's Foundation for Humanity Development, a Sierra Leone-based NGO. Previous to that, he was a data collector for the World Food Programme in Liberia. He holds a bachelors degree in sociology from the University of Sierra Leone, and a secondary education teaching certificate from Milton Margai College.
Andrew is married and has three children and one foster child. He enjoys traveling to new places with his family and listening to music. He is a devoted Christian evangelist and musician who plays the keyboard and drums. "I am excited to work at CRC to represent and promote its mission, vision, core values and Biblical principles," Andrew says.
The Child Rescue Centre is encouraging Senior Secondary school graduates to consider vocational or technical education if they don't do well on the college entrance exam. Throughout West Africa, graduates of Senior Secondary School (high school equivalent) sit for the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), to determine their eligibility for further education. Upon receiving their results, CRC students are welcomed to apply for a Promise Scholarship for university or votech programs. Many CRC students who scored high on the WASSCE have pursued university degrees including medicine, engineering, journalism, applied science, or social work. However, the test is difficult and many students don't earn scores that will gain them entrance to university.
The CRC aims to remove any stigma about votech education, and help every student become a self-sufficient, contributing member of their community. CRC Director Olivia Fonnie and other staff members recently met with graduates to encourage them to consider vocational or technical training.
There are many successful individuals who do not go to college; they went to technical or vocational school," CRC Case Manager Victor Kanu explained. CRC graduate Amara Foday used his scholarship to attend welding school, a highly sought-after skill in Sierra Leone (read about Amara here) and is now enjoying a career in the booming Sierra Leone construction industry. CRC students have successfully completed vocation and technical education programs including catering, tailoring, and auto mechanics.
The CRC is offering extra tutoring and preparation classes for the students who decide to take the WASSCE a second time.
Although the western church has historically been a driving force in the proliferation of orphanages, it is poised now to become a huge part of the solution to the problem." - Krish Kandiah, Home for Good
Helping Children Worldwide was honored to be at the table with global child welfare leaders for the "The Global Church’s Response to Children Without Parental Care," in conjunction with the 2019 UN General Assembly on September 23rd in New York City. The group met to strategize how to engage the global church in the family reintegration movement, which seeks to place every orphaned or abandoned child in a safe and loving family. Melody Curtiss and Laura Horvath represented HCW in the meeting with other leaders of child welfare and faith organizations, including World Vision, 1MILLIONHOME, Catholic Relief Services, Home for Good, and the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). Many of the participants were present at HCW's Rising Tides policy conference last month.
The meeting was organized by Krish Kandiah, Founding Director of Home for Good, and Elli Oswald, Executive Director of Faith to Action. Krish encouraged the assembly that the global church could become a "champion for children," and fulfill the Biblical promise to "let your light shine before men that they should see your deeds and praise you," by leading the movement to find loving families for all children. "Although the western church has historically been a driving force in the proliferation of orphanages, it is poised now to become a huge part of the solution to the problem," Krish concluded. Doug Leonard, World Council of Church representative to the UN, assured the group that they "can be a vehicle for advocacy to the UN on behalf of every child's right to grow up in safe, stable families."
Presentations by the participants framed the challenge:
HCW is an endorser of the Key Recommendations. Plans are underway to share the impact of the meeting with other Christian organizations, and develop language to communicate the mission and purpose of the group to share with church leaders across denominations.
Above: Krish Kandish (second from right) and Elli Oswald (right) convened the meeting of child welfare and faith leaders.