April 4, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
In a bid to bridge the gap of poverty, improve access to education and school retention for children orphaned by Ebola, Street Child of Sierra Leone has provided business grants in the form of cash and seedlings to six thousand seven hundred and nine-two (6,792) families and caregivers, amounting to one billion two hundred and seventy six million, two hundred thousand Leones (Le1, 276,200,000.00).
According to the organisation’s head of Sustainability, Daniel Y. Kargbo, they have been working with over twelve thousand children orphaned by Ebola, those living permanently on the streets, as well as children who are at the brink of dropping or have dropped out of school.
He said all of these children received food support from them at the peak of the Ebola outbreak, with majority also receiving education support, including school bags, shoes, uniforms, books, pens and pencils and other materials that will enhance effective learning and keep children in school.
“Our aim is not only to place children in schools and give them worthwhile education support butalso to ensure that they are retained in these schools through empowering their families and caregivers with capital investments in the form of grants for small business,” he said. “It is against this backdrop that business grants in the form of cash are given to families and those families who may wish to engage in agricultural activities are provided with seeds of various choices suitable for their respective geographies.”
Mr Kargbo emphasised that the money was neither meant to buy dresses nor prepare food for their husbands, but rather to embark on profitable businesses from which proceeds would be used to keep the children in school when the organisation would have pulled out.
Mr Kargbo revealed that each family received a minimum sum of three hundred thousand Leones (Le 300,000) but stressed that those with multiple children received more than the minimum amount.
“Parents will be asked to keep their monies with the organisation out of their profits with at least five thousand Leones (Le5, 000) weekly for twenty weeks. At the end of the twenty weeks, we will giveback to them what they have kept in full. The spirit of this is to introduce them to the habit of keeping for their children,” he explained.
One of the beneficiaries, Alusine Kamara, described the support as timely and thanked Street Child for their magnanimous gesture. He assured that the money provided would be used for its intended purpose.