During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic in Sierra Leone, children facing adversity encountered a significant challenge: the sudden disruption of their education. For children with special needs and orphans already struggling with life’s hardships, remote learning proved to be an insurmountable hurdle. Grafton, a community in Freetown, witnessed the profound suffering of these children.
In response, the Caritas Freetown’s Development Office, with support from Kindermissioswerk, initiated the “Educational Sponsorship for Orphans and Vulnerable Children Affected by COVID-19 in Freetown’s Western Rural District.” This project provided essential psychosocial, educational, and medical support to 150 children, tracking their academic progress.
Gesine Henrichmann from Kindermissioswerk in Aachen, Germany visited the Grafton community to witness the impact of the project. The one-year initiative benefited 150 COVID-19 orphans and vulnerable children in the Western Area Urban and Rural regions, providing educational, medical, and psychosocial support to help them return to school and alleviate trauma and stigmatization.
During her visit, Gesine was greeted by children dressed in their school uniforms, showcasing their cultural heritage through dance. The children and community stakeholders expressed their gratitude with handmade cards. Gesine interacted with beneficiaries, hearing their touching testimonies and the transformative impact of the educational sponsorships.
Mariama Turay, a grateful recipient of the project, shared her story of almost dropping out of school after losing relatives to COVID-19. She expressed her joy and gratitude for the support that enabled her to continue her education and thrive.
As the day came to a close, Gesine visited a children’s home in the Number 2 River Community, where the children’s happiness reflected the positive impact of Gesine and Kindermissioswerk. Let us celebrate the power of compassion and support for children in need.