"I was living with my grandmother. I was so hungry one day, and I stole a phone from one of my neighbors to trade for food. I as afraid to be taken to the police station or prison. So I ran away from home to live on the streets because I knew my poor grandmother could not afford to pay for the phone.
I was living on the streets until the CRC found me. I was taken to the CRC interim care home, where I lived for five days. The CRC took me to Mercy Hospital for treatment because I was on the streets for a long time.
Now I feel fine, healthy and strong. CRC later brought me back to my grandmother. And I have resumed school. When I was on the streets, I never knew I would go back to school.
I am very grateful to God and all the sponsors for changing my life. My dream is to finish my school and complete university and help to remove other children from the streets. Thank you sponsors, and may God bless you all. "
The CRC turns 20 today! Twenty years ago, the Child Reintegration Centre was founded by Bishop John Yambasu and the UMC church, with a mission to rescue children orphaned or abandoned due to the Sierra Leone civil war. Today and throughout the coming week, the CRC is celebrating the hundreds of children and their families who have been lifted out of extreme poverty through the work of the CRC and its devoted staff. Join us to celebrate an amazing journey of faith, courage, and love, as we envision a brighter future for the most vulnerable children and families in Sierra Leone.
Bishop Yambasu, CRC Director Olivia Fonnie, the CRC staff, CRC children and their families, and other dignitaries gathered at the CRC to formally kick off the celebration this morning, see pics and video below.
If you would like to support the CRC's mission, please donate here: bit.ly/CRC20Anniversary
CRC Director Olivia Fonnie addresses the assembly, see video below.
The Child Reintegration Centre staff visited the studios of Radio New Song in Bo to talk about the CRC's 20th anniversary celebration, kicking off today. Here are some fun pics of the visit, as the epic celebration continues!
The families served by the Child Reintegration Centre live on the margins, even by the standards of one of the poorest countries in the world. The government's nationwide lockdown in response to the global COVID pandemic has pushed these families to the brink, and some have become extremely food insecure. (See Lockdowns will starve people in low-income countries, The Washington Post)
With the generous help of our donors, the CRC has responded by distributing emergency food to help the most desperate families get through the crisis. The families were provided with food essentials including rice, vegetable oil, onions, and Maggi flavoring cubes. The entire CRC staff pitched in to assemble food packages and distribute them to the grateful families.
“I am a single mother with four children and my husband died during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone," one mother said. "For the past months my children and I have not been having enough food to eat. Thank God today we have got some food substance”.
Food was distributed in Bo and in several of the villages the CRC serves, including Fengehun, Manguama, Sami, Mattru on the Rail, and Yamandu. Case manager Victor Kanu explained the situation. “Families in the rural communities are more vulnerable than those in big towns and communities, and find it difficult to get food."
In the Mattru on the Rail community near Bo, a mother expressed her gratitude for the assistance. “I am happy to receive the food you people brought to my community this morning. I am preparing to go to the farm with my family since school is not in session so as to find what we can eat, not knowing that God will send his people to support us with food.”
If you would like to help provide struggling families with emergency food, you can donate to HCW's COVID response by clicking on the link below.
The CRC delivered emergency food to several of the villages served by case management, including Fengehun, Manguama, Sami, Mattru on the Rail, and Yamandu.
The entire CRC staff pitched in to help assemble food packages including rice, onion, cooking oil, and Maggi cubes for flavoring.
When her husband died, it became very difficult for Fatmata to provide for her children Rashidatu, Ibrahim and Junisa. The CRC came to her aid, and made it possible for her to keep the children in school. Fatmata attended the CRC's microfinance training, and upon graduation received a small loan to start a sewing business. With the skills she learned from the program, Fatmata was able to pay back her loan and buy materials to help grow her business. She now sells material to other tailors and mentors CRC families who are new to microfinance.
"This is how my children and I are surviving," Fatmata says, proudly displaying a beautiful blouse she created. "We will always be grateful to the CRC and the sponsors. I will never forget the impact they are making in my children's lives."