The Member of Parliament representing constituency 52 has constructed a Child Care Centre to house and educate children orphaned by the Ebola Virus Disease. The Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs commissioned the structures at Makakensa village few kilometres to Yele (Yea-leh) town, in Tonkolili District. The Child Care Centre, a project under the Footprints Mission Sierra Leone was initiated to give a helping hand to the Ebola orphans in Gbonkolenken chiefdom.
Abu Bakarr Tarawally, has the story.
It started four years ago, when the Honourable, Dr. Abu Bakarr Daniel Sesay came across two Ebola orphans in Makele village left in the care of a blind old man who also had no shelter to live in.
the two kids lost both parents to the Ebola Virus Disease.
Constituency 52, like many other areas in Sierra Leone, was affected by the Ebola scourge. Most of the survivors here are children.
For these kids, life was meaningless in their homeless situation, as they were fast losing their health.
The Member of Parliament, who is also a medical doctor, said he could not stop thinking about those children ever since he met them but felt compelled when the question keeps resonating in his mind what he must do to better their lives.
He said he contacted friends in the United States, colleague surgeons, and they came to help him establish the footprints mission, under which the children are now benefiting.
The child care centre currently houses 20 Ebola orphans. With support from the Alma College in the United States of America. The centre is turned into a learning hub composed of skills training and a school system with a special bias in agriculture.
The Hon MP said the orphans here are treated under a scholarship scheme the Alma College is providing to ensure a brighter future of the children. The lifeline support package is billed to take good care of the children from Primary School through University.
Dr. ABD Sesay said those who could not go through the university would be provided with basic support skills like, carpentry, tailoring and craft works in the centre’s skills training programs.
He said work has started in earnest to put up the carpentry and tailoring workshops to train people for self reliance to promoting sustainable development for continual starting point.
The project has a reserved land about 10 hectares for agricultural purposes as the footprints mission builds sustainable life support programs in oil palm production, animal husbandry and diversified approaches in an effort to deter younger folks fleeing the for greener pastures overseas.
According to the MP, this is a new lease of life for these children whose hopes were once upon a time up in the cloud.
He called on the government to give a serious hand of support to this life changing project, while he specifically requested the minister of social welfare, gender and children’s affairs, Baindu Dassama to help in taking care of the children’s welfare.
Responding, the minister approved of the request as she gave an open reception to the project staffs that she said are always welcome to contact or meet her when the need arises in future to discussing the welfare needs of those children.
In her emotional speech, she told the children that their world is not over yet given the fact that, in their misfortune, a helping hand came that forever implanted indelible marks in their lives.
Hon Baindu Dassama appealed to the beneficiary children for them to make good use of the opportunity as their future lies in education.
She took the opportunity to admonish parents and guardians about the frequent incidence of rape and sexual penetrations in the country. On the side of the ministry, she said they have reached a cabinet decision that men caught in such dastardly acts will be jailed without bail.
She emphasised that the new direction is supportive of education and projects of these nature deserves the required support from the government.
She promised to brief His Excellency, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio about such development as she openly declared Yele (Yea-leh) as her second home following a rousing traditional welcome.