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11/1/2016 - Sierra Leone - President awards Don Bosco Fambul

(ANS - Freetown) – In December last, in a ceremony in Sierra Leone State House, Don Bosco Fambul was given a Presidential Award in recognition of its contribution to fighting Ebola. The ceremony was shown live and nationwide on television. The Assistant Director of Don Bosco Fambul, Mr. Samuel Bojohn, received the award from the President of the Republic, Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma.

During the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, the Salesians engaged in mobilization and information efforts on behalf of children and youngsters, who were disproportionately affected by this disease. They did this through house-to-house campaigns, local radio stations and the Don Bosco Child Line 116. This hotline functioned as the National Registration Centre for ebola-affected children.

Through the phone line many crisis interventions were carried out. During the lock down in Sierra Leone the organization took care of hundreds of street children in Freetown and housed them in their institutions for several days. In addition to all the crisis interventions, Don Bosco Fambul was able to continue on a daily basis all their normal programmes such as the shelter for girls who were raped, and the therapy centre for inmates inside the central prison in Freetown.

The Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, previously commended the Salesian communities in Sierra Leone for the timely opening of a therapy centre at Lungi to help children who had lost their parents through the Ebola virus or were infected but cured and later stigmatized by their family members.

The Salesian priests and brothers will never forget the talk of the Rector Major via Skype on the inaugural day, 8 September 2014, at the climax of the crisis. The superior general of the Salesians expressed his closeness and that of the entire congregation to those who are committed to addressing the problems caused by the virus. "You are doing what Don Bosco himself would have done. Thank you for being there and helping the young people in need," said the Rector Major.

Don Bosco Fambul is a local non-governmental organisation which currently employs more than 70 members of staff, mostly social workers. Apart from daily street and prison work the institution maintains a shelter for rehabilitation of street children, a family tracing department for counselling, a youth centre, a 24-hour shelter for girls who have experienced violence, and a countrywide 24/7 phone counselling line.

Published 11/1/2016

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