Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: February 21, 2024

SIERRA LEONE: Don Bosco Fambul expands child-welfare work with grant secured by Salesian Missions

New staff raises awareness, increases advocacy to protect children’s rights.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Feb 21, 2024) Top of Form Don Bosco Fambul in Freetown, one of Sierra Leone’s leading child-welfare organizations, has added staffing support thanks to a grant from the Flora Family Foundation secured by Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The Flora Family Foundation was established in 1998 by the family of William R. Hewlett (co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard Company) and his wife Flora Lamson Hewlett to support social progress, environmental well-being and cultural vibrancy.

Don Bosco Fambul provides a range of programs to help support youth who are living on the streets, girls who have faced sexual abuse, young women who have forced into prostitution and youth in trouble with the law. With the funding, Don Bosco Fambul was able to add a program manager, advocacy officer and communications officer.

Thanks to the staffing support, Don Bosco Fambul raised public awareness about child sexual exploitation and promoted its Child Line 525 for reporting child abuse and crimes committed against children. Through an advocacy campaign, Don Bosco Fambul staff educated the public about sex offenses, child rights, sexual exploitation and the consequences when these laws are broken. They also provided information on the channels by which the public can access justice in such cases.

Don Bosco Fambul celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2023. It is operating a shelter for young girls who have faced sexual abuse and are in need of support and education. Recognizing the specific need for girls who had been forced into prostitution, Father Jorge Crisafulli, former director of Don Bosco Fambul, created the Girls OS+ (Hope Plus) program inside a therapeutic center. Since the program launched six years ago, it has changed the lives of more than 600 girls.

Fr. Crisafulli said, “The main aim of the Girls Shelter OS+ program is to reach out to underage girls who are involved in prostitution and help them off the streets, offering a safe environment where they can access holistic rehabilitation and physical, psychological, and spiritual healing. The goal is to help them recover their dignity through education and skills training and reintegrate back into their community.”

A young woman named Mable was one of the beneficiaries of the program. She explained, “I was able to access the resources I needed to change my life. This included education at the Portree Vocational Training Center where I studied hairdressing. During the training, I was given food, clothing and financial assistance. I was even given a start-up kit when I graduated. Today, I make a good living in my salon.”

In addition to these services, Don Bosco Fambul also has social workers who go out to the streets, poor neighborhoods and marketplaces. They engage with vulnerable youth and encourage them to join Don Bosco Fambul’s programs. The organization has four large buildings, a clinic, accommodations for volunteers and social workers, a house for the Salesian community, and a chapel. It’s the only program of its kind in West Africa that provides girls who have been sexually abused or forced into prostitution with a safe environment to overcome their traumas and start a new life.


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