September 21, 2015 By Moses Kamara
One of the immediate needs of hundreds of people affected by last week’s flooding in the capital Freetown is food. In a bid to cushion the sufferings of these desperate flood victims that have been temporarily sheltered at the National Stadium by government, Street Child of Sierra Leone (SCoSL) – a leading child protection agency in the country – was among the first set of organisations to donate food and non-food items to the victims.
SCoSL presented 250 bags of rice, 15 cartons of onion, 15 cartons of maggi, 15 cartons of bathing soap, and 30 cartons of tomato paste to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs at the National Stadium in support of people affected by the monsoon rains. The items are worth millions of Leones.
Presenting the items to the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Street Child’s Country Director, Kelfa Kargbo, expressed his sympathy to those affected by the flooding, while also expressing gratitude to the government for what he described as their “timely intervention”. He revealed that Street Child is one of the few non-governmental organisations committed to alleviating the plights of vulnerable people, more especially children and women.
“Due to the intensity of the rains and the consequent flooding, I know thousands of vulnerable people in shanty communities have been gravely affected and lost valuable properties at a time they were not expecting this to happen to them,” noted Mr. Kargbo. “Whenever a natural disaster of such nature occurs, the first thing the affected people will be in need of is relief support. And as a means of addressing this immediate need, my organisation is providing these items to support the victims.”
He further informed the deputy minister that Street Child will – on top of the items already donated – move further to offering educational support by providing uniforms, text and note books, mathematical sets, scientific calculators, pens, pencils and other relevant learning materials to three hundred and fifty (350) children affected by the flooding in slum communities.
Their parents, he added, will be provided with what he referred to as “business support”.
Kargbo noted that relief support is vital for now but that the affected parents need sustainable income that will enable them move away from their shanty communities and engage in business that will help them raise enough income to take care of their children’s educational needs. To help them achieve this, he said Street Child’s business team will work with the families that the ministry and their partner organisation ‘We Yone Foundation’ will assign to them, and that their team will advise them on what business is suitable for their various localities.
“They will be encouraged to embark on a saving scheme from the profits they make from their businesses,” he said.
Receiving the items on behalf of his ministry and the affected people, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mustapha Bai Atilla, thanked Street Child for their ceaseless support to vulnerable people in society.
The child welfare agency, the deputy minister maintained, has always been supportive of his ministry, especially in difficult times, from the fight against Ebola to providing food to those affected by the flood.
“The timely intervention of Street Child to help salvage the sufferings of the flood victims has been a familiar practice by the organisation, so we are not surprised by their intervention,” said Mr. Atilla. “Street Child is one of our partner organisations that are contributing positively to uplifting the lives of vulnerable children across the country.”