SIERRA LEONE: Former Salesian student presented the documentary “Love” to President of Malta and told her story of support from Don Bosco Fambul
(MissionNewswire) During a “Lost in Migration” conference that took place in Valleta, Malta, a delegation of seven people from several Salesian provinces were received by the President of Malta, H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. The Salesian delegation was given the opportunity to explain Salesian programming in various countries around the globe, including helping street children at railway stations in India, raising awareness of migrants coming into Italy and discussing care for girls caught up in prostitution in Sierra Leone.
In addition, Preca was given a copy of the documentary, “Love,” and the book, “Girls with No Name,” from Augusta Ngombu-Gboli, a teacher who was once helped by Don Bosco Fambul. Ngombu-Gboli shared her story with President Preca and described how she went from living on the streets and involved in prostitution to becoming a teacher and entrepreneur thanks to Don Bosco Fambul. Ngombu-Gboli shared her dream of opening a restaurant and inviting Preca for lunch. The President was visibly touched and noted that while she has a 27 year-old daughter, she now feels she has found another daughter in Augusta. Preca provided Ngombu-Gboli her personal email and phone number to stay in touch.
The documentary, “Love,” is short film directed by Goya prize winner, Raúl de la Fuente, that tells the stories of many young women like Ngombu-Gboli. It captures the work of Salesian missionaries at Don Bosco Fambul, one of Sierra Leone’s leading child-welfare organizations located in the capital city of Freetown. A Don Bosco Fambul program is helping hundreds of girls forced into prostitution by poverty or neglect.
Father Jorge Crisafulli, director of Don Bosco Fambul, launched the program in September 2016 as part of the organization’s Girls Shelter with the aim to search for girls in their workplaces where they are surrounded by alcohol and drugs and at risk of danger and exploitation. The goal is to offer them shelter, health care, nutrition and education and whenever possible, to reintegrate them back into their families.
Father Crisafulli said, “At Don Bosco Fambul, we are committed to making these girls understand that the situation in which they find themselves is not their fault, and that they can start again, dream of a better future and make their dreams come true because they are unique, wonderful, each a work of art made by God.”
Close to 200,000 young girls and older women were sexually assaulted during Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war, according to UNICEF. And although the war has stopped, the sexual violence against women continues. Young women are at risk for sexual violence, trafficking and forced pregnancy, among other atrocities. Today, one third of girls are forced into marriage and often sexually assaulted by their husbands before their 15th birthday. In addition, 90 percent of girls are subjected to female genital mutilation. The Girls Shelter at Don Bosco Fambul, which has been in operation for five years, was developed in response to this crisis.
Salesian missionaries, professional social workers and pastoral workers provide crisis intervention and follow-up care for girls and young women who have been victims of sexual assault. Girls that access services at the shelter are also able to attend educational programs that are a part of the broader Don Bosco Fambul network of programs. These educational programs give young women the skills necessary to find and retain employment.
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UNICEF – Sierra Leone
Catholic News Agency: Film shows Salesians’ work to rescue girls from prostitution in Sierra Leone
View the film on YouTube