(Freetown, Sierra Leone) - Don Bosco is a well-known figure in Sierra Leone. His name is synonymous with the protection of the most vulnerable minors. But in recent years the Salesian organization "Don Bosco Fambul" has also been treated with respect and even feared for its ability to have pedophiles and abusers put in prison. This is why the First Lady of Sierra Leone has chosen a Salesian structure for the signing, last week, of an agreement between Don Bosco Fambul and various national agencies for the protection of children in the fight against violence and child abuse.
Among the many humanitarian activities carried out by Don Bosco Fambul, there is also a new, great project: the "New Don Bosco Fambul", a therapeutic center, built by the sea, with four large buildings, a clinic, accommodation for volunteers and social workers, a house for the Salesian community and a chapel. Its inauguration was postponed due to the coronavirus, but the center remains a safe and pandemic-free place and already welcomes many minors among Sierra Leone's most needy.
The New Don Bosco Fambul was the place chosen by the First Lady of Sierra Leone, Fatima Maada Bio, to sign the first “Agreement against Domestic and Sexual Violence against Girls and Adults” in Sierra Leone. In addition to Don Bosco Fambul, the Police Family Support Unit and the child protection agencies "Rainbow Initiative" and the "Lawyers" also participated in the signing.
The Director of Don Bosco Fambul, Fr Jorge Crisafulli, had all the authorities visit the premises; in every building, they were welcomed with songs and dances by the center's young guests. The program for minors saved from prostitution gave the First Lady two earrings in the shape of a ring which she immediately put on. In return, First Lady Fatima Maada Bio encouraged the boys and girls to continue studying and to fight bravely for their rights.
Continuing her visit, she praised the work of the Salesians, underlining "the wonderful structures of the New Fambul, undoubtedly the best place to have a therapeutic center"; but she also had very strong words against abusers and batterers, mentioning the Police, too. And finally, she recalled her visit to the United Nations in Geneva to hear the testimony of the girls and teenagers saved from prostitution.
With this agreement, Don Bosco Fambul's clinic will be able to issue forensic reports on abused minors arriving at the center. In this way, the Police will be able to conduct investigations early and arrest the perpetrators.
Finally, the First Lady of Sierra Leone invited the Director of Don Bosco Fambul to be part of her Team of collaborators to work for the rights of those who suffer violence, sexual exploitation and trafficking in human beings.
The Salesian missionary accepted.