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Africa

2012-03-14

AFRICA/SIERRA LEONE - A helpline dedicated exclusively to children

Freetown (Agenzia Fides) - In Sierra Leone children often find themselves having to handle a variety of negative situations: from personal, family, educational, legal and child labor problems to unemployment, exclusion, sexual violence, genital mutilation, child trafficking, AIDS ... Children and teens are sometimes faced with such desperate situations that they do not have anyone to help them. Often, the discomfort is exacerbated by fear, loneliness and feeling of helplessness. To meet this emergency the Salesian society "Don Bosco Fambul" in Freetown has just launched a consulting and listening line aimed at children. Working every day, 24 hours non-stop, it is supported by social workers, lawyers and nurses who offer information, advice and practical help to children in need. All calls are free and are treated anonymously and confidentially. According to a note sent to Fides by ANS, in this short period of time the line has already brought significant success.
Don Bosco Fambul has been helping street children, unemployed youth and their families in Freetown for over 10 years. In addition to direct work with children in the slums, the society offers a rehabilitation program for 10 months to 70 street children; 1500 other former street boys and girls are supported by the project to the finding of families. It also offers shelter to women victims of violence, to other 400 girls and young women a scholarship or 18-month professional training are guaranteed. The society has a youth center which is open daily and also active in the work of family support. From this year, Don Bosco Fambul is recognized member of the "Child Helpline International," the global network that brings together the helplines to children. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 14/3/2012)

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