Sierra Leone: Helpline Rescues Children

Publication Date: 
May 17, 2012

While the civil war in Sierra Leone ended in 1999, the country remains ravaged. Families have been torn apart, many children are forced to serve as soldiers and even slaves, and an estimated 50,000 people have died. The country’s infrastructure, including their schools, has yet to be rebuilt. 

Don Bosco Fambul was founded in Freetown (the capital of Sierra Leone) 10 years ago. The Salesians who run the vital youth center know all too well the hurdles the children of this war-torn country face. The war’s youngest victims have been exploited in unimaginable ways, and separated from their families. The path for them to create a better future for themselves can be very unclear.

That's why Don Bosco Fambul has launched Child Hotline 116. The program is the outgrowth of an initial pilot that began because many street children, desperate for help, especially girls in the slums, were unable to reach Don Bosco Fambul or their family home.

The hotline is provided in partnership with Sierra Leone’s telecommunications providers, guaranteeing that every call is free of charge. With cell phone use burgeoning in Sierra Leone, the toll-free number is a highly effective way for children to connect to the many vital services provided by Don Bosco Fambul.

“By means of all our projects, we want to be there for children and youths facing personal crisis,” says Brother Lothar Wager, director of Don Bosco Fambul. “We devote our time to them. and we do so without exception—24 hours a day, weekdays and weekends, working days and holidays, day and night.”

Don Bosco Fambul also offers a 10-month rehabilitation program for 70 street children and 1,500 former street boys and girls—supported by the Family Tracing Department, whose goal is the reunification of families separated by conflict and war.

Sierra Leone’s problems run deep, but the Salesian missionaries continue to find ways to help rebuild the country by rebuilding the lives of vulnerable street youth. Your support helps Salesian Missions give brighter futures to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children—including victims of devastating wars.

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