Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: July 03, 2024

Changing Lives — One Person at a Time

More so than almost any other place on Earth, youth in Sierra Leone struggle to survive because of the consequences of abject poverty. Yet amid overwhelming adversity, there’s hope for something better and it starts at Don Bosco Fambul.

As one of the country’s leading child welfare organizations, Don Bosco Fambul provides food, clothing, shelter, educational opportunities, counseling, crisis intervention and family reunification services for an estimated 2,500 street children each year. Our missionaries and staff who run the center provide these important services in close partnership with local authorities who rely on the Salesians’ expertise and shared commitment.

“Despite Sierra Leone’s constitutional guarantee to protect and educate its children, there simply aren’t enough government resources to help vulnerable children,” explains Father Michael Conway, director of Salesian Missions. “That’s where Don Bosco Fambul steps in—changing lives one step, and one young person, at a time.”

Such transformation starts at the street level—literally—with Don Bosco Mobil.

Officially established in 2010 as the primary contact point for many of Don Bosco Fambul’s beneficiaries, the “Don Bosco on Wheels” outreach bus travels to Freetown’s most notorious neighborhoods. They offer meals, clean clothes, showers and basic health care to children living and working on the streets. Staff also educate these children about Don Bosco Fambul’s full complement of programs so that—if and when youth are ready to make a change—they know where to turn for help.

“It’s not hard to imagine the skepticism and fear among homeless youth who spend their days dodging exploitation and abuse,” Fr. Mike says. “That’s why staff who operate Don Bosco on Wheels invest considerable time into gaining the confidence and trust of vulnerable youth.”

That’s how Titus, now 19, learned about Don Bosco Fambul.

Titus first began spending time on the streets when he was just seven years old—a coping mechanism for escaping dire poverty and despair at home. Rather than return to his parents after school, he would roam the sidewalks and alleyways of Freetown until midnight. Sometimes, he would steal money in order to eat—which directly led to him being kicked out of his house permanently.

For two years, young Titus fended for himself … and then Don Bosco Mobil rolled into his life.

Initially, staff worked with Titus and his family in the hopes of reunifying them. When those efforts sadly didn’t succeed, he entered Don Bosco Fambul’s Group Home for boys—where he received the support he needed to reshape his future.

And the results are tangible. Missionaries at the Group Home report that Titus is a lector, an altar server, a brass band player, a baker, a practicing tailor, and a singer! He is also enrolled in Milton Margai Technical University, with plans to become a social worker so he can help more kids like himself.

Titus is just one of the young people who have found new hope at Don Bosco Fambul. Thanks to caring people like you, many more precious children will be rescued from the streets.

Learn more about our work in Sierra Leone.

Our mission rescues, rehabilitates and educates at-risk youth to build brighter futures. What’s your mission?

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