May 1, 2015
Leading child protection agency in the country, Street Child of Sierra Leone, which is working with Ebola orphans, children with disability and children living in the streets, continues its support to the country’s most vulnerable children.
The organisation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs and funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), on Saturday April 25, in the eastern city of Kenema, presented educational support comprises of note books, relevant text books, pens, pencils, rulers, mathematical sets, two sets of uniforms, school bags and other useful learning materials to some two thousand eight hundred and fifty-four (2,854) vulnerable children.
Giving an overview of the organization, Street Child Head of Programmes and Donor Compliance, Madam Sia Lajaku-Williams, noted that the agency was established in 2004 in the northern city of Makeni working with some 100 disadvantaged children living on the street without any adult supervision. She said the child welfare agency is one of the biggest non-governmental organisations operating in the country with 250 staff, 181 contract staff and 420 teachers, with the organization paying their distance education fees, among others.
Madam Lajaku-Williams said all their staff are effectively working in line with the organisation’s aim of eradicating Ebola and curtailing the number of children living on the street, as well as caring for disadvantaged children across the country.
Street Child Head of Operation for South-East, Pastor George Quacker, disclosed that some 1,325 children in their Back-to-School project, 454 beneficiaries of the Improving Schooling in Sierra Leone (ISIS) project, and 1,075 Ebola orphans and their siblings will benefit from Street Child’s education support.
He further informed guests that the beneficiaries were drawn from deprived communities and communities that were badly hit by the deadly Ebola virus such as Blama, Kpai, Bambara, Gerehun, Komende Luyama in lower Bambara Chiefdom, Komende Station in Nongowa Chiefdom and many others in the Kenema District.
In his keynote address, the deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Mustapha Bai Atilla, informed the people of Kenema District that Street Child is one of the organisations that has the art of philanthropy in their DNA; the reason he said the organisation is visible across the country.
“Last week Saturday, I was in Bo principally to give support to one thousand children including Ebola orphans, children living with disability and street children. And today again, two thousand eight hundred and fifty-four (2,854) vulnerable children are going to benefit from the same support,” said the deputy minister.
He further maintained that Street Child of Sierra Leone has been very supportive in ensuring that his ministry achieves the purpose for which it was created. He said everybody in government, including President Ernest Bai Koroma, is pleased with the organisation’s contribution to national development.
Mr. Atilla further pointed out that Street Child is one of the organisations that have participated in every stage in the fight against Ebola.
“They started with the distribution of Veronica buckets to frontline institutions like the Ministry of Social Welfare, city councils, the Sierra Leone Police, among others. The organisation had also placed chlorinated water in strategic public places to promote the culture of hand washing,” he said.
In his statement, Assistant Director of Education in Kenema District told parents and beneficiaries that education is the best weapon they can use to fight poverty, and therefore any support directed towards education must be handled with care.
He admonished parents not to sell the items as they are meant for the education of their children. He encouraged them to send their children to school as the government has put measures in place to ensure the effective running of all schools and higher institutions of learning in the country.
Also speaking, Bunting Granding of the Office of National Security (ONS) stressed that Street Child is one of the non-governmental organisations that is actually utilising donor funds for the right causes.
He encouraged parents to use the materials for the intended purpose and assured Street Child that his office will ensure the materials are not sold but utilised by the children.