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13/3/2012 - Sierra Leone - Don Bosco Fambul launch a childrens’ help-line

(ANS – Freetown) – Recently, the launching of the Don Bosco Child Help Line organised by Don Bosco Fambul took place in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. The Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs, Hon. Stephen J. Gaojia officially opened the new countrywide operating Child Hotline 116.

HIV/Aids, child labour, rape, personal as well as family problems, child trafficking, FGM, sexual abuse, school problems, youth unemployment, legal problems, marginalization; these are only some of the possible problems young people in Sierra Leone are confronted with. Children and youngsters are sometimes faced with situations that are so hopeless that they find no way to solve them on their own. Personal distress is further exacerbated by fear, loneliness and helplessness.

The international Child Line Hotline 116 is continuously staffed around the clock, 24 hours a day, by social workers, lawyers and nurses who are available on the phone to provide information and counselling. All the incoming calls are dealt with anonymously and confidentially.

All telecommunications companies of Sierra Leone, airtel, africell and comium, are premium partners of Don Bosco Fambul. It is guaranteed that every call is free of charge.

Already in this short time there are many successful stories. During a press conference a 13years old boy explained how he was able to call the hotline 116 while he was under police arrest without any reason. Immediately Don Bosco Social workers went out to search for the boy and obtained his release.

The Director of Don Bosco Fambul, Brother Lothar Wagner pins great hopes on the new aid programme offered: "By means of all our projects we want to be there for children and youths facing a personal crisis. We devote our time to them. And we do so without exception: 24 hours a day, at weekday and weekends, working days and holidays, day and night." Now Brother Lothar places his hopes in the preventive effects of telephone counselling: "We want to prevent children from ending up on the streets. We want to strengthen them and provide possible solutions in order to enable them to regain control of their lives within a short time."

Don Bosco Fambul has been helping street children and unemployed youths as well as their families in Freetown for over 10 years. Apart from working with children in the slums directly, the organization offers a 10- month rehabilitation programme for 70 street children. 1.500 former street boys and girls are supported by the Family Tracing Department. A shelter for girls experienced violence is located at Siaka Steven Street and offers a 24hour service. Furthermore 400 girls and young women receive a scholarship or a 18-month training. A Youth Centre on Fortstreet is open daily and offers supportive family work. Since 2012 Don Bosco Fambul is a Member of the Child Helpline International.

Published 13/03/2012

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