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SIERRA LEONE: Youth rescued from streets

Don Bosco Fambul of Sierra Leone

Don Bosco Fambul one of country’s leading child welfare organizations


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have been serving in Sierra Leone since 2001, when they began working to rehabilitate former child soldiers. In the years since, Don Bosco Fambul, located in the capital city of Freetown, has become one of the country’s leading child welfare organizations. It offers food, clothing, crisis intervention services, shelter, educational opportunities, long-term counseling and family reunification.

At the core of Don Bosco Fambul’s work is a program for street children. The organization has a staff of 120, including Salesian social workers who go out to the streets, poor areas and marketplaces. They engage with vulnerable youth and encourage them to join Don Bosco Fambul’s programs.

The success of the street children rehabilitation program is credited to its holistic approach which focuses on meeting basic needs like food and shelter in addition to personalized medical, psychological, pedagogical, social and spiritual care. Salesians reach out to an estimated 2,500 street children in the region each year.

Rehabilitation is a gradual process that includes formal classes, daily games, sports, music, drama, dancing, counseling and prayer. The parents and extended families of participants are contacted several times by social workers before final reunification.

Don Bosco Fambul has also been operating a shelter for young girls who have faced sexual abuse and are in need of shelter, support and education. Recognizing the specific need for girls who had been forced into prostitution, the Girls Shelter GO+ program was created. Since the program launched six years ago, it has changed the lives of more than 600 girls, given them the opportunity to start a new life and provided access to education.

Whether working with a young boy who has been living on the street or a young woman forced into prostitution, psychological support is a critical part of the work at Don Bosco Fambul. A Salesian noted, “Don Bosco Fambul Therapy Center is the first and one of the biggest in Sierra Leone. We offer therapeutic sessions for minors and survivors of all forms of abuse.”

The organization has four large buildings, a clinic, accommodations for volunteers and social workers, a house for the Salesian community, and a chapel. It’s the only program of its kind in West Africa that enables girls to live in a safe environment to overcome their traumas and start a new life.



Photo courtesy of Don Bosco Fambul

Don Bosco Fambul

Salesian Missions – Sierra Leone

UNICEF – Sierra Leone