Vulnerable people on the street of Bo city received a Christmas gift in the form of uncooked food items (rice, salt, Maggi seasoning and onion.) This distribution was done by some staff and children in both the Child Support and Family Care Programs. The children and staff gave packages of food items to more than 50 vulnerable people on the streets and wished them a Merry Christmas.
The outreach committee did some renovations on two homes of children enrolled in our programs. First, the committee did repairs to the bedroom of one of our Family Care Program children. He has been sleeping in a mud-walled room without a proper ceiling or door. The outreach committee decided to finish his bedroom, and also improve some part of the caregiver’s room.
Roofing and painting were also done on another vulnerable family's house. This house has been leaking throughout this rainy season until the intervention of the CRC outreach program. Now they are safe from the troubles of the rain.
See below before and after photos of some of the renovations.
The CRC's newest students live in Fengehun Village, just outside of Bo. Because of the distance, the Fengehun students weren't able to attend the Christmas parties held at the CRC compound, so the CRC staff brought Christmas to them.
In the fall of 2017, the CRC expanded beyond Bo to add 20 first graders living in Fengehun Village to the roster. Fengehun Village is one of the villages served by Mercy Hospital's Outreach program. CRC staff travels with Mercy staff to do home and school visits for the children, while Mercy conducts prenatal and child nutrition clinics. It takes about 45 minutes to reach Fengehun by car.
Because of the distance, the 20 new students couldn't attend the Sponsor A Child Christmas parties held at the CRC, so the CRC staff brought a belated Christmas to them in January. Each child received a Luci solar light and treats to share with their families.
We are proud to announce that Child Rescue Centre alumnus Aruna Stevens received his medical degree from the College of Medical and Allied Health Studies (COMAHS) on January 20th. His convocation in Freetown was attended by many fellow CRC alumni. Aruna is the second CRC student to graduate medical school, preceded by Yusef Tejan, who graduated from COMAHS last year.
Aruna dedicated his dissertation defense to his late parents and to his American sponsor, Brian McCaffrey, "without whose compassionate support it would not have been possible." He will begin his two-year housemanship (residency) in the spring, which will include six months rotation each in medicine, surgery, pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology.
CARES Radio held an end of year street broadcast at the Shellmingo round about in Bo City. This program attracted stakeholders from the Bo environment such as: the Regional Human Right Activities chair, the ruling APC South Party chair, a student representative from Njala University, the media, CRC staff, and the public.
The program dealt with the topic "Put your country first in the coming National Elections in Sierra Leone." Prizes were distributed to participants who answered questions as the program was aired live on the radio.
In the early months of 2017, the Child Rescue Centre launched a pilot microfinance program. Specifically focused on the most vulnerable of the families served by CRC programs, 30 parents were invited to enroll in the first Microfinance Class. Participation in an 18 week course on savings, budgeting and money management is required for certification and the award of a small loan in the amount of 500,00 le (approximately $70).
Recently the participants where asked to share the most significant changes they've experienced since taking the class and receiving a loan. Many shared that they are now able to pay their rent, and that their school-aged children now have lunch money for school. Many participants are sharing the financial knowledge they've gained with their spouses and other family members.
Amara Fofanah says that one significant impact is that he "is able to pay for Saturday classes" for his children. These are necessary to help kids do well on national exams, but they often cost more so those who can't pay don't benefit. He also shared that for the first time, his children have lunch money to take to school with them.
Nancy Jusu Sr agrees. Before receiving her small loan, Nancy had to walk around Bo to sell cassava and potato leaves. The loan enabled her to set up a small table stall near her home. Even more importantly, it came in time for her to purchase medications for her very ill daughter, whom she's convinced would not have survived without it.
David Musa, Child Support Program Manager, recently put together maps of Bo and and Sierra Leone that chart where all of the children and youth enrolled in a Child Rescue Centre program currently live. This will help the Child Rescue Centre and Helping Children Worldwide define our programs and identify which specific areas of Bo and other communities are served.
Child Rescue Centre gardner Kinnie Ernest, aided by the children and staff, continues to cultivate healthy crops in the garden. The recently harvested eggplants will be used to make a delicious and healthy sauce for the residential children to enjoy. In addition to enjoying the fruits of their labor, the children are learning valuable skills in the care of crops. Besides, nothing tastes quite as good as food you've raised yourself!
The CRC's Family Strengthening Program not only provides the opportunity for parents and family to visit the CRC and attend regular activities with their student, but also gives students the chance to spend weekends and holidays at their forever homes. This helps students to become gradually acclimated to life in the Bo community. The students enjoy learning how to help out at home.
Remember as a kid how exciting it was to go shopping for new notebooks and other supplies in preparation for a new school year? At the start of every academic year, the CRC gathers all of the students in the Child Support Program to receive their school supplies for the year. With 450 kids in this program, that is a lot of pencils!