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I’ve worked in Child protection for 17 years and together with my team at CoDWelA (Concern for Deprived Welfare Association) we work on the outskirts of Freetown in 6 communities, as well as communities in Makeni, Kamakwie and Madina Tonko to engage street children, Ebola orphans and other destitute children providing emergency relief, psychosocial care, education and family business support.

In the end, we want to ensure that a vulnerable child has access to a safe adult in to support their sustainable well-being and development.

During the Ebola pandemic in Sierra Leone Waterloo, in the Western Area Rural District, was one of the worst affected areas and we saw many families devastated by the deadly Ebola. But with support from the UK charity Street Child, CoDWelA was able to provide immediate relief, psychosocial help, education and business opportunities to 1073 children orphaned by Ebola and their families in Waterloo and surrounding areas.

In addition, 455 children at Wellington, Calaba Town, Allen Town, Grafton and Tombo remain vulnerable in in need of support and 523 children at Makeni, Kamakwie (Bombali District) and Madina Tonko (Kambia District) that are very vulnerable and still need support.

I have seen Mama Mayila and her team reach communities, like Moa Wharf, that are marginalized and difficult to reach with her positive message of hope and we both share a burning desire to empower these disadvantaged communities and their children so that they have the education and tools to improve things for themselves.

So when Mama Mayila and National Cordinator, William Tieh, asked me to become Chair of the Hope 4 Ebola Orphans Board in Sierra Leone I was proud to accept so that we may work together in harmony to improve the lives of vulnerable children everywhere in Sierra Leone.

I was proud to accept because we share the same values: a commitment to placing the child at the heart of what we do; an openness of approach and transparency in our operations and a desire to work in partnership with others so that we can achieve more for the most vulnerable.

There is an urgent need to make sure this Ebola Generation and all vulnerable children are not abandoned and by working together, we can create an opportunity to ensure all vulnerable children in Sierra Leone are protected; campaigning together for children’s rights, disability rights and girl education and against issues of child abuse like child marriage, FGM and other forms of violence against children.

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