In Sierra Leone, Western Area Child Protection Committee plans for development
The monthly meeting of the Western Area Child Protection Committee was hosted by the Christadelphian Meal-A-Day Pikin Dem (Street Kids) office at Old Signal Hill Road, Congo Cross on Tuesday 30th October 2012. The meeting was aimed at bringing various stakeholders including officials of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs; the Freetown City Council and other Child Protection Organizations in a meeting to discuss on development issues that brings a great transformation on the lives of Street Children. Representatives from various organizations, including: We Yone Child Foundation, CAP ANAMUR, Family Homes Movement, Rainy Season, Network for Children in Need, Children in Crisis, and Future for Children; gave meaningful updates on their current activities, challenges and the way forward. (Photo: (L-R) Mohamed S. Kallon, Social Worker and Mrs. Nancy King, Programme Coordinator)
The Christadelphian Bible Mission, which is a worldwide Christian faith based organization, officially launched the Meal-A-day Pikin Dem programme, which is aimed at providing meals, clothing, medicine, and educational support to needy children, especially those in the streets. Mrs. Nancy King is the Coordinator of the Programme. She informed the meeting that the programme was launched in order to establish contact with, and restore hope in street and destitute children in Freetown on the basis of at least 20 children every year. She noted that her organization facilitates the reintegration of at least 50 separated children into their families of birth or alternative care every twelve months.
Some of the key activities the Meal-A-Day Pikin Dem Programme in undertaking includes: psychosocial counselling, religious and moral education to street kids; educational and other capacity building support; family tracing and reunification and alternative care where necessary; medical examination and treatment are being provided to all children, both at the point of their admission at the centre and during their sojourn therein; monitoring and evaluation of reunified children in their schools and at home; family mediation; and maintain effective and efficient coordination by networking with other organizations that are implementing child protection programmes in the country.
Mrs. Nancy King went on to inform the gathering that within the next three years they are planning a massive expansion program in order to increase child-intake to at least 50 per year, starting 2013; follow-up and monitoring of progress of reintegrated children; establishment of reswidential interim care fascilities that will accommodate 40 boys and 10 girls for not more than the official stipulated period of six weeks stay per child; on-going resource mobilization; forgoing coordination and operational linkages with child protection partners; and establishment of a comprehensive database that will guide programme planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. She added that plans are also on deck to expand the programme across the country.
Report states that half of street children in Freetown aged 12yrs and above are girls, and forty percent of these are orphans. Also, ninety percent of street children in the districts are boys. They averaged 11yrs to 16 yrs. The circumstances of these children varied, but whether previously with their own parents, with one parent, with step father, or with relatives; these children commonly felt their needs had not been met, usually as a result of the economic status of their families. For others, particularly those not previously staying with their parents, they had felt been maltreated and had not received support for their continued schooling. This is why organizations like the Christadelphian Meal-A-day Pikin Dem is geared towards re-uniting these separated children with their families or provide them with alternative care.
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