Learn more about girls and help us make a difference in thier lives!
The creation of the shelter happened by accident. From the very beginning we worked closely with the police department. One day, they appeared at our front door with a young girl who had been sexually abused by a family member. They asked us to take care of her, but we explained that our strength was in counseling, not medical assistance. The officer asked us to do what we could because they did not have the resources to take care of young girls.
Given our vision for the country of Sierra Leone, we took the young girl to get checked out. We made a bed in one of the rooms we had, and we gave her the love, attention, and psychotherapy needed to deal with this horrific act. Once healed, we found a family member who would protect her, and we trained a volunteer to check on her on a regular basis. Thus began our shelter.
Commit and Act foundation with support from friends started the construction of the shelter in the Bo District. Today, we also have a safe house in Makeni and have helped heal and rehabilitate young female victims of violence (Sexual gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, gang rape, and many more). We provide the necessary medical and psychological treatment, legal aid, education, trainings, livelihood and basic needs (food, dignity kits, water, and clothing, hygiene) to help these girls heal their trauma and return to their families and communities. In addition, we provide education and abuse prevention trainings to girls at the shelter. Currently, 49 staff members provide care for our girls.
Sexual Gender-based violence (GBV), Female genital mutilation, and child abuse are at epidemic levels throughout West Africa, Sierra Leone in particular. Recently, President Bio declared a state of emergency in Sierra Leone after a 3-year-old girl was raped. The First Lady has declared the issue of SGBV as her personal mission. The government has established "One Stop Centers" in 6 districts. These matters are compounded by the intense poverty of the South and Northern regions of Sierra Leone.
Our shelter in Bo houses 34 abused young girls and babies born as a result of Sexual Gender Based Violence, the Safe Home in Makeni houses 15 girls at a time, taking them them out of crisis and helping them regain stability. Our ultimate goal is to end the cycle of violence against girls, reunite children with loving caregivers and equip young women with skills to improve their lives and their communities. We seek to make the shelter and Safe Home as self-sustainable as possible and to reduce operational costs so that we can increase prevention and intervention work in remote villages, reaching more communities and helping more individuals.
Right now, we need additional funding to continue operating our shelter and providing prevention and intervention programs to address the source of the problems. Our operational costs are high and we are reliant on outside funding. Please consider making a donation!
By, Hannah Bockarie & Ruben Rozental