AUGUST 26, 2014 By Mohamed Massaquoi
As part of his support to the families of Ebola victims, the former presidential candidate for the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio, will today launch the ‘Maada and Fatima Foundation’ to care for children who have lost their parents to the deadly Ebola virus.
The launching ceremony takes place at the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) conference hall in Freetown, and the Foundation, according to Mr. Bio, aims to provide educational support including uniforms, essential text books, school fees and other items for pupils between the ages of six and 18 years.
Speaking about the Foundation, one of the board members, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, said Bio and his wife have officially registered the charity in Sierra Leone to provide scholarships and other support to children from very poor families for them to access quality education.
He said they have invited the ministers of Education and Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs to grace the event, which he said “will be on a low key”.
“You may be aware that the Ebola disease has already caused the deaths of over 300 people in Sierra Leone, and most of these were benefactors of children attending school. The untimely death of these people may cause these children to drop out of school with adverse impact on the future of the nation’s human resource development,” noted Mr. Sesay. “The Maada and Fatima Foundation has established an educational support fund for these orphans and other vulnerable children. We are starting with Le25 million and our expectation is that more people will come on board to support the process for the benefit of these children and the country as a whole.”
He added that during the 2012 presidential election, Bio strongly campaigned on the platform of strengthening the country’s economy by investing more in human capital; the reason he said prompted him to establish the Foundation as a show of commitment to his party’s manifesto.
“We want the government and every other organization to provide assistance to these children; they are in need of help and Bio has just created the enabling environment for them to realise their potentials. This is the second strategy by Bio in seeking the interest of Ebola victims and their families,” said Mr. Sesay. “We are not going to stop at that but we will continue to do more for our people. Bio is a true patriot and I admire him for his courage.”