He informed the well attended gathering that Don Bosco Mobile or Don Bosco on Wheels programme was not drawn up at the centre on a desk or out of imagination, but that in the peripheries of Freetown during the nights, and in various streets, where hundreds of streets boys and girls suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
According to Fr. Jorge Crisafulli, in order to have an in-depth knowledge and the reality of the situation of street children, organization conducted a survey in September 2016 and in February 2017, stating that the second hand bus donated by ATABA Foundation –Badajoz, in Spain with support of the Extremadura government and the transport union of Badajoz would be used at strategic locations in Freetown, especially during the nights to search and detect cases of vulnerable kids.
“The bus will park at strategic points within the city centre and in close vicinity to the slums and street children’s sleeping places, and our social workers will target fifty to sixty children daily, and offer medical care, free HIV testing as well as counseling teens and young people, including warm meal, legal aid for children in conflict with the law, adding that in July and august this year, children would be offered special activities and care at Don Bosco Fambul.” Fr. Crisafulli stated.
He also noted that the overall objective of this all important project was the reintegration of kids into their extended families, foster families and for those who had spent a short time on the street, and that Don Bosco Fambul also offered alternative residential care, rehabilitation and family tracing for those kids who had spent long time on the streets.
Don Bosco Fambul, Fr. Crisafulli said they would be organizing twelve workshops on different topics, such as relationship and friendship, hygiene sexual education, sexually transmitted diseases (HIV AIDS dangers of the streets), education to tolerance and peace, music, talent show, conclift resolution, quiz competition and the importance of family.
The reverend Father maintained that his organization was working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, the Family Support Unit of the Sierra Leone Police Force, including other organizations with keen interest in child protection, and to further indentify vulnerable kids faced with the consequences of injustice, and abandonment, lack of proper caring and creating a conducive environment that would positively impact the lives of the street children.
Giving an overview of the project, the Coordinator of Don Bosco Fambul, Francis Kamara explained that his organization was on record for playing positive and meaningful roles in rebuilding the lives of street kids and re-uniting them with their families, and at the same time do a routine check on children that had gone through Don Bosco, and how they were re-integrating with their respective families, parents and foster parents
He intimated that their activities were specifically centre around children’s welfare, development, education and to make them become responsible citizens of the country, noting that it was incumbent on all and sundry to guide and direct the future of street kids, as most of them had indulged into alcohol drinking, drug abuse and other dangerous narcotics, which had impacted negatively on their life style.
Francis Kamara informed his audience that they were currently offering seven projects, such as rehabilitation programme for streets children and a follow up visits with family tracing, twenty four hours mobile phone counseling line, twenty four hours girls shelter for girls that had experienced violence, post Ebola project, support and accompaniment for young inmates at the Male Correctional Centers, group home for former street kids and a programme for underage girls trading in prostitution.
He disclosed that the ministry for child protection and United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) had been encouraging Don Bocso to be very active in the fields of child protection, first aid treatment and education through the don Bocso mobile project.
Don Bosco Coordinator, Kamara was paraphrased to have said that the mobile project provides for all the street children in Freetown, counseling and attendance in accordance with their individual needs in selected slums, and that their primary target was emergency assistance and the counseling of street children in Freetown.
He concluded that his organization had ten years experience in the fields of crisis tackling crisis and street social work, for the necessary development of a social structure, developing reliable relationships at the pedagogic level was not the only method of the individual support, and assured all present at the ceremony that his organization would never relent towards changing the lives of street children in Sierra Leone.
In his statement, the Deputy Director of Don Bocso Fambul, Fr. Emmanuel Ajah maintained that the Don on Wheels project was an important initiative and it hinges on the future of children in Sierra Leone, as he further stated that his institution was operating in one hundred and thirty one countries worldwide and forty three countries in the Africa continent.
He expressed thanks and appreciation to their partners and departments, for being supportive and very cooperative towards implementing much improvement work to take the children off the streets on Freetown.
Fr. Emmanuel Ajah also hoped that the project would provide the required platform for the management and staff of the Don Bosco in changing views and exploring avenues that were practical and applicable in getting the children off the streets of Freetown, and re-unites them with their respective family’s members.
The occasion was climaxed by the testimonies of two kids who explained the role Don Bosco played in changing their lives and re-uniting them with their families, friends, brothers and sisters.
Don Bosco Fambul is a local nongovernmental organization operated by catholic missionaries.