The Child Rescue Centre provides more than health and education support to children; they help families too. CRC staff offer workshops for parents of children in its programs as well. Recently, this has included the addition of a six module training package and workshops on attachment theory, designed to help foster parents and those recently reunified with their own CRC children learn how to understand attachment in order to build and nurture healthy attachments with their children.
The six attachment theory training modules were created by the University of Maine Honors College students and faculty, working together with a wide range of professional associates in collaboration with Patty Morell. Extensive research, fact finding, and exchange of study data was drawn upon to create this workshop product. CRC staff contributed by making culturally appropriate revisions and suggestions to graphics, imagery, verbiage, and activities contained in the training.
According to CRC Case Manager Deborah Kanneh, the first two training sessions using modules one and two have been very well-received. “It has helped parents to create a healthy relationship and a strong bond with their children. The most useful lesson they learned during the first workshop was the use of the three T’s,” Deborah said. “This means they should talk with their children everyday telling them how much they love them, to touch their children by holding their hands, and also make time for them.”
Parents attending the workshops share that they’ve learned how important it is for children to be attached to their parents so that they can be more secure and comfortable around their caregivers and know that their needs will be met. “A child who has gone through trauma in his or her life needs more encouragement from me,” said one mother.
“I’ve learned that children will like to repeat positive behaviors if you speak compliments to them,” shared another.
“A child that has experienced trauma can be aggressive towards their fellow children,” shared another participant. “We have to understand the source of trauma in our children before we react.”
Participants have requested that a component of the attachment training be included in every monthly meeting they attend at the CRC, and that the CRC hold sessions that include the children as well. They’ve also requested materials they can share with other parents in the community. As one participant said, “love and attention are really important in families.”
By Missioner and Occupational Therapist Karen Roeming. Karen was a member of the July 2018 mission team and coached Mercy nurse James how to mold thermoplastic splints for Abubakkar.
Abubakkar is standing taller!
Abubakkar continues to progress and he is standing straighter and taller. He is even gaining some weight. As you might remember, Abubakkar was burned over two thirds of his body in December, 2016. He was brought to Mercy Hospital in March, 2017 where he continues to receive care. After being enrolled in the Child Rescue Centre, Abubakkar and his brothers were all able to return to school in September, 2017. Abubakkar passed his class five tests in June, 2018 and promoted to class six.
Abubakkar has been living at home with his family but still comes to Mercy every other day before or after school for wound care and dressing changes. The wounds on the backs of his legs are healing nicely requiring less care. As his wounds heal, the normal skin is replaced with scar tissue that will continue to shorten and contract limiting the ability to straighten his knees and put his heals down on the ground. This scar is less amenable to stretch as he grows compared to his normal skin.
Abubakkar’s goal is to be able to run and play football again. To help stretch that scar and allow Abubakkar to stand taller, his nurse, James, used a sheet of low temperature thermoplastic material softened in heated water to mold directly to his legs. The plastic cools and holds its shape so Abubakkar can be gently stretching his knees and scars while he is sleeping. This is not the most comfortable way to sleep but Abubakkar is standing taller and having fun playing with his friends during the day.
The Child Rescue Centre has expanded its vision to serve children and families who live in the villages of Pujehun and Manguama.
Last month, children from these two villages were enrolled in the Child Support Program so they can begin receiving support for their education. Both underdeveloped and politically marginalized, these small villages suffer from extreme poverty, lack of services and inaccessibility.
Manguama is one of the villages served by Mercy Hospital outreach.
CRC Director Mohamed Nabieu spoke to the new vision to expand to the villages. “We are not only to focus on our comfortable zones, but if we want to make meaningful impact, we have to be ready to reach out to the unreached, speak out for the voiceless and help the underprivileged,” he said.
Over several days in September the CRC team visited the newly established operational areas to distribute school supplies. “The children are all set and ready for the new school year,” CRC Case Manager Victor Kanu reported. The CRC staff counseled the parents to support their children’s education by encouraging them to study and take good care of their school supplies.
If you would like to sponsor one of the children from the new village initiative, please click on the link below.
Twenty-three students who sat the 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination WASSCE have been taking computer classes three times a week at the CRC while awaiting their test results. The classes, led by CRC System Administrator Johnanese Baun are helping the students acquire basic computer knowledge. CRC students mostly do not have electricity at home, let alone access to computers. "It has been a wonderful moment to see the students very happy for the opportunity given to them," Johanese says. "The attendance is good!"
CRC Case Manager Victor Kanu recently visited the home of former residential student Abdulai Dakowa, who is now enrolled in the Family Care Program. His mother Saffiatu is so grateful to be reunited with her son.
Saffiatu enrolled in the CRC's first microfinance class, and started an African soap business with the small loan she received upon graduation from the class. She joined the local "osusu" (lending group) and has been able to turn a profit and save money to support her little family.
Victor found that Abdulai is doing well at home with his mother, brother and sister. He helps with cooking and some domestic work, and participates in morning devotions with his family. His mother says that Abdulai is practicing his Christian life at home.
"I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to you for the valuable assistance your organization has rendered to me in the upbringing and education of my son Abdulai at this very difficult time," Saffiatu told Victor. "This offer to us has contributed so immensely to the future of Abdulai," she says with gratitude.
I consider myself lucky, and hope to help other people by the grace of God.
Ernest lost both of his parents by the time he was 10 years old and was staying with a distant relative who used him for unpaid labor, when he was referred to the Child Rescue Centre by the Ministry of Social Welfare, where he spent his early childhood.
As a teenager, Ernest was reunified to live with extended family in the community, as mandated by the Sierra Leonean government. After completing Senior Secondary School, he applied for and was granted a Promise Scholarship to become a lab technician. Ernest graduated with a diploma in laboratory science in June and sat down with CRC Case Manager to talk about all the CRC has meant to him over the years.
The CRC has played a great and important role in my life, by helping me to achieve my dream. When I was breaking down from school, they helped to build me in my education. When I was weeping and mourning the death of my mother and father, the CRC made me laugh. When I was silent, the CRC helped me speak. Thank God for that. I consider myself lucky, and hope to help other people by the grace of God.
It meant alot to me to be awarded a Promise Scholarship. It is this scholarship that has made me who I am today. The scholarships has helped me to achieve my dream. It builds up my leadership skill and my level of understanding in terms of reading and writing, and has increased my level of understanding in knowing God and the things that we are doing on earth. As it is written in the book of Ecclesiastes 3:1, "there is a time and a purpose for everything on the earth."
The CRC has supported me at the post-secondary level by providing education materials like text books. The attend CRC allowed me to attend the Global Leadership workshop, provide transport for me, provided health facilities, and made provision for computer classes. They also helped me with my assignments and counseled me to take my education into good faith.
My future career plan is to further my education and become a histopathology or public health officer. I hope to have a job and get married and have a family. My advice to the JSS and SSS students is for them to study very hard and know that there is no easy thing in this world and to note that if you suffer today, tomorrow you will not suffer. But if you do not suffer today, tomorrow you will suffer in life and that is the time you will find life very hard to live in the world.
Ernest has been interning as a lab technician at Mercy Hospital while finishing his laboratory science diploma. "My future plan is to become a histopathology or public health officer," he says.
Baindu Simbo is a single mother with four children, three of whom are enrolled as Child Rescue Centre students. Baindu has a disability that has made it difficult to care for her family, but was eager to join the microfinance program to learn business and budgeting skills.
"I really enjoy working with Baindu Simbo," CRC Case Manager Victor Kanu says. "During the training and the followup monitoring visits, she always gives honest information. I am proud of her for paying her loan and sustaining her business."
Baindu has already repaid her initial loan and interest, and her business is doing well. Through her success in the microfinance program, Baindu has gained confidence, and her community admires her for her determination and achievement.
“I give thanks to the CRC for supporting me to launch my business," Baindu shared. "I find pleasure in producing my Africana soap,” she says with pride.
Case manager Victor Kanu visited Baindu at home, where she demonstrated her soap making process. "I find pleasure in producing my African soap," Baindu says.
Promise Scholar Musa Massaquoi recently graduated Njala University with a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Social Work. Musa lost his mother at a very young age and was raised by his father, a subsistence farmer, in a village near Bo. Education was always a problem, but he persevered through the obstacles posed by extreme poverty and achieved his dream of graduating from university.
Child Rescue Centre Case Manager Victor Kanu talked to Musa about his journey to achieve his dream of getting an education.
"Since I was schooling in the village, things were very challenging for me. I lost my mother when I was in Class 2. I continued to struggle until I sat to the National Primary School Examination (NPSE), wherein I scored very good grades. Upon enrollment into Junior Secondary, my education became a problem. My father depended on subsistence farming and had other children and relatives to care for.
I was driven from school for not paying the fees. I was really ashamed and felt dehumanized in the eyes of my colleagues.
In JSS 1, I was driven from school for not paying the fees. I was really ashamed and felt dehumanized in the eyes of my colleagues. It was through the merciful grace of God that I was noticed by the CRC during their assessment. I was recommended by one of the church members, and later enrolled into the program.
As a recipient of a Promise Scholarship, the CRC created several positive impacts to help me actualize my dream of success towards my education. The CRC changed my life through their moral ethics and Christian values, helping me become obedient, dedicated, honest, open-mind, humble, and hardworking, both in academic and other facets of life.
I learned good judgment, responsibility, and good study habits. The CRC trained and guided me to be an upstanding citizen with moral values, trust, and dedication to serving my people.
I am convinced that life without the support of other people is of no importance. This will really come to play when that individual is yet to achieve his or her dream, and their chances are limited. This is very common in Sierra Leone. I happened to be one of those many children that felt the pinch of poverty in Sierra Leone. The CRC saw fit to invest in me, as I went from high school to university.
And today I am one of the flag bearers of change in Sierra Leone and the world at large. This opportunity brings me to the forefront of building my human resource capacity. This is very essential in developing any state. Becoming a social worker today is a blessing in disguise. And if there are any other humanitarian organizations that have the same vision in Sierra Leone, they are going to make a sound meaning in our society and the world at large.
Dreams die slowly when opportunities are absent.
The CRC provided financial assistance for relevant learning materials, supported lodging for the first year of my university education, counseling support, and medical services.
My advice to colleagues, brothers and sisters: to focus on their academic work to maintain this wonderful opportunity, as many others are yearning to enjoy such a chance. They should be dedicated, hardworking, obedient, God-fearing and honest in all their undertakings, and they should think of their background, so as to step forward to completely change the lives of their families and communities of origin. They might be the only hope."
Francess Batty's father was one of the hundreds of heroic health care workers who died caring for Ebola patients. (The Ebola heroes who are giving their lives for others, January 16, 2015, The Telegraph.) While working as a community health worker at Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown, Samuel Batty contracted Ebola from a pregnant woman, and transmitted the disease to his wife. Both Samuel and his wife died, leaving their four children orphaned.
Francess, who was in her second year at Njala University, became the provider and caretaker for her younger sisters and brother. At the recommendation of the Ministry of Social Welfare, the Child Rescue Centre reached out to the family and began providing them assistance. Francess, who was already a student at Njala University, applied for and was granted a Promise Scholarship, so she could complete her degree and continue to take care of her younger siblings.
In June, Francess graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting with honors. In an interview with CRC Case Manager Victor Kanu, Francess expressed her gratitude for the help and encouragement she received during a very desperate time in her life.
"In the first place I want to appreciate Child Rescue Centre for taking me this far. Since I lost both parents during the Ebola saga, CRC has been my help so I want to express my thanks, and may God bless the CRC. With the help of CRC, I can be proud of being a graduate from Njala University.
I thank my sponsors Matt and Beth Reed, and pray for God’s abundant blessings for them. Also my appreciation to the staff, especially the guidance counselor [Princess Kawa] who played a great role by advising me to make good use of the opportunity given to me by the CRC and to always be a good example.
The Promise Scholarship that was awarded to me has helped me so much in achieving my dreams, since I was in second year and now I am a graduate. In addition to my tuition, the CRC has been providing me a monthly stipend to pay my transport fare, provided textbooks, and relevant learning materials for me to study hard.
As I have got my first degree, my future career plans are to further my studies to acquire my master’s degree, and also gain a good job for me to take care of my younger ones, because I am the eldest in my family.
In five years from now, I hope to be in another level. I would like to be a role model in the society, having a good job or even have plans to gain further scholarship.
For the younger ones who are in JSS and SS, my advice is for them to focus on their studies, be good boys and girls and to make good use of the opportunities CRC is offering to them, which is a huge blessing.
Francess, left, in her graduation gown, and with CRC guidance counselor Princess Kawa. "I want to be a role model," Francess says.
As a young boy, Amara Foday enrolled in the Child Rescue Centre's Child Support Program, but dropped out of school at the end of Junior Secondary when he failed to pass the difficult BECE national exam for promotion to Senior Secondary.
It's not an unusual occurrence for kids who come from backgrounds of extreme poverty in Sierra Leone, as they may be too disadvantaged to succeed academically by the time they start school, hampered by a host of problems associated with poverty like early malnutrition, chronic illness, itinerancy, or family dysfunction.
In spite of these obstacles, Amara persevered in his desire to learn a marketable skill. He had stayed connected to the CRC and applied to the CRC for a Promise Scholarship to attend vo tech school. The CRC was pleased to offer Amara a scholarship to pursue vocational training at Sierra Leone Opportunities Industrialization Centre. Amara used his scholarship to become a welding technician, a highly sought after skill in Sierra Leone as construction keeps pace with the population increase.
Amara has now completed his welding program and will officially graduate in December. He is currently working with a team in Freetown to demolish the houses destroyed by mudslides last year.
As he discusses his future, Amara has already started thinking about how to give back to his nation of Sierra Leone. "My career plans are to own a private welding and metal workshop to employ and train youths on metal work, and with that I can contribute in nation building, " Amara told CRC Counselor Victor Kanu. "The CRC has impacted my life in many ways, but more especially to make me to become somebody in the society by achieving my goal to be a welder and becoming independent," he added.
"My advice to a student hoping to earn a Promise Scholarship is to stay focused and work very hard in order to achieve the good result to develop ourselves and the country," Amara counsels aspiring scholars. "The CRC Promise scholarship means a lot to me, as it has helped me transformed my life, contributing to my family and the country as a whole."
Amara hopes to open a private welding and metal workshop to train youth like himself, "With that I can contribute to nation building."