17. September 2021 Project reports, Sierra Leone

Our Skill Support Offers Children and Young People a Perspective

In Sierra Leone, we want to create a perspective for the street children in Freetown. In addition to reunification with the families, we also support the boys and girls to go back to school or to complete an education.

We have been caring for 16-year-old Balley since this spring and were able to successfully return her to her family and provide her with an education at her own request.

Balley was brought to us at the Street Children’s Shelter in early March. She lived with her aunt and her aunt’s husband, they unfortunately treated the young girl badly. Balley had to defend herself against some of the man’s assaults and found no help from her aunt before these assaults, but was even accused of lying.

As a result, Balley left her aunt and has been living on the streets ever since. In order to survive, she prostituted herself.

After her arrival at the Pikin Paddy shelter, we had long conversations with Balley in which she was slow to tell us her whole story.

The story of Balley is a typical example of a young girl in Sierra Leone

It turned out that she has a two-year-old daughter and is also married. The child lives with her parents-in-law. Since Balley neither wanted the marriage nor to live with her husband, she kept running away. Her own family didn’t want to take her in anymore, which is why she had ended up with her aunt. But she did not want to go back to her husband, nor to her aunt.

We were able to contact Balley’s sister who was willing to take her in. This enabled us to prepare for reintegration, which we have now successfully completed.

From the streets back to a regular life

The young mother has never attended school, but wanted to be able to care for her daughter in the future. Therefore, we have been able to arrange a training opportunity with her in the catering industry. Balley expressed a desire for her daughter to stay with her mother-in-law so she could focus on her education. The training center reports only good things about Balley. She comes to class on time, works with concentration and shows great effort.

With great pleasure she does her training and can finally decide freely what she wants to do. At the training center, she has met other young girls and can now simply meet a friend and live the life of a teenager. There are no problems with her sister either.

At the International Day for Street Children (read more in our News ) Balley told about her past and her experiences. She especially advised girls to stay at home and avoid a life on the streets. She told of organizations like Cap Anamur that children can turn to for help to end their lives on the streets.